Being Chip Kelly's offensive coordinator seems like a job that would appeal most to someone like George Costanza, the balding, bespectacled Seinfeld character forever in search of that money-for-nothing career.
You don't call the plays, you don't stand on the sideline, you don't get any credit, and you won't get any blame. Costanza would look at that list of prerequisites and declare that this could be the autumn of George.
In reality, it was the fall of Pat Shurmur that started the sequence of events that led to Kelly's first hiring of an NFL offensive coordinator. Kelly couldn't bring offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich with him from Oregon because that is the man who replaced him as the Ducks' head coach.
Kelly decided he wanted someone with head coaching experience in the NFL as his offensive coordinator, and Shurmur, having just been fired as the coach of the Cleveland Browns, was available. In fact, Shurmur was at the airport in Cleveland on his way to interview for the New York Jets' offensive coordinator job when his cellphone rang.
"Instead of flying home after the Jets interview, they sent a limo up for me," Shurmur said. "I was at the airport, so I wasn't planning on being anywhere for more than a day."
He spent two days in Philadelphia.
"It went on longer than we all thought it would," Shurmur said.
For once, Kelly was not in a hurry.
The initial reaction outside the NovaCare Complex was bewilderment. What could Kelly, the master of college football's high-speed, zone-read offense, possibly have in common with Shurmur, a devout disciple of the West Coast offense?
"We kind of found out that even though our backgrounds were very different . . . philosophically we wanted to try to do the same thing with an offensive football team," Shurmur said. "I just feel very fortunate that he felt this was going to be a good thing. He offered me a job and I quickly accepted."
Shurmur, 48, is no George Costanza. He is, in fact, a hardscrabble football man. He looks as if he could have been a quarterback in college - his son Kyle currently plays that position at La Salle High - but he was a center and the captain of the last Michigan State team to win the Rose Bowl in 1988. He has been a football coach ever since, spending eight years at his alma mater and one year at Stanford before Andy Reid brought him to the NFL as the Eagles' tight ends coach in 1999.
Philadelphia is where Shumur spent the next decade as a tight ends and quarterbacks coach, which led to jobs as the St. Louis Rams' offensive coordinator for two years and the Browns' coach for two years. His reputation took a hit with the Browns as the losses mounted and he was fired by new ownership after going 9-23.
"I would have liked to have had an opportunity to finish what we started, but typically when you have an ownership change, there is major change at the top of an organization and I understand that," Shurmur said.
Shurmur didn't have to check his ego at the NovaCare Complex door after Kelly hired him because he still has an offensive lineman's mentality. He knows this is Kelly's team and offense. He is willing to be the right-hand man, the equivalent of a baseball bench coach, schooling Kelly on the rules, regulations, and ways of the NFL. Shurmur, in return, is learning a new system and a new way of doing things.
"I mentioned it before: I wish I had known some of these things 20 years ago," Shurmur said. "I wish I had known some of these things two years ago. Some of the things we do behind the scenes to help the players perform at their best have been good.
"What I learned prior to being here and what I've learned in the last six months has just opened up my eyes that there are other ways to think about things. There are other ways to do things that can be very, very effective."
It all seemed to work for the Eagles in the first half of Kelly's coaching debut Monday night against the Washington Redskins. Shurmur had a bird's-eye view from the coaching box at FedEx Field.
"It was enjoyable for me because I had an idea of how we might be able to function and it was good to go out and see our guys compete and have success," Shurmur said. "At least through the preseason and this first game, it seemed like it went smoothly.
"Having been a play caller, I can see when he's on a roll and then every once in a while, there is a reason to have a conversation about where we're going to go next. We function in a lot of ways like Chip did at Oregon, but there also are things that are different and significant to the NFL that we've had conversations about. I'd like to think it's a blend of ideas, but obviously the inspiration for most of it comes from Chip."
And it's all being absorbed by the offensive coordinator eager to help and learn.