He was the backup who became a folk hero, the jock who became a pastor, the pastor who became a 45-year-old intern, willing to scrub toilets if that’s what it took to scratch that football itch of his after eight years away from the game.

Even as a second-stringer, he was respected enough to counsel Jim Kelly; even as an unproven position coach, he was sharp enough to tutor Peyton Manning; even after the Philadelphia Eagles were left for dead this fall, their star quarterback sidelined, he was shrewd enough to lift Nick Foles from stopgap into Patriots-slayer.

All the while, lest we forget: He was overlooked enough to get passed over, and passed over, and passed over, for the head-coaching job he’s long craved.

The sweat of discipline and the hard work of repetition always precedes the thrill of spontaneity in any pursuit of life.

In those 21 words are Frank Reich’s career. He’s had the quote on his desk for 30 years now. There’s a certain sense of spontaneity a backup quarterback must accept: You toil in the shadows until you’re suddenly asked to become a savior. You don’t know when it will come, if it will come. Reich knows this better than most. He spent the bulk of his 14-year NFL career holding a clipboard.

If it was spontaneity – not to mention the 11th hour defection of Josh McDaniels – that brought the Indianapolis Colts and Frank Reich together, he hardly bats an eye at the serendipity of it all. His wife doesn’t. “Divine intervention,” Linda Reich calls it. It was five months ago the two of them decided he wouldn’t chase any head-coaching jobs this season. He stayed true to his words during the playoffs. “No calls, no texts,” he warned his agent.