During the four years that Ty Detmer spent in Green Bay, he could have been the person who held the ladder for Michelangelo while he painted the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. Or he could have been one of the soldiers rowing the boat when George Washington crossed the Delaware.
In other words, Detmer was in the shadow. And that shadow's name was Brett Favre.
A Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback at BYU, Detmer seldom stepped on the field while backing up the Packers' star.
"It was one of those things where I was four years into the league and had no playing experience, hardly," Detmer says. "(The Packers) offered me a couple more years to stay as the backup, but I felt like if I stayed there and didn't play, then I would be six years older, 30 years old, with no experience. There may not be a big market for somebody like that. So I felt like I had to get out from under him and try it for myself."
The opportunity came in 1996, when Detmer signed with Philadelphia as a free agent. And although he was making a fresh start in a new city, Detmer was familiar with his new surroundings.
"I had known (Eagles Head Coach) Ray Rhodes and (Offensive Coordinator) Jon Gruden from our time in Green Bay, and felt like it was an opportunity to get out from behind Brett Favre, where you may never play," laughed Detmer.
"The opportunity to come in and maybe have a chance to play was a draw for me. I had a couple other teams interested, but mainly with Ray and Jon, I knew them, they knew me, and so I felt real comfortable with that. I didn't look real seriously at other teams."
Another thing Detmer found familiar in Philadelphia was when the 1996 season got underway and he found himself on the sideline. He went from watching Favre to watching Rodney Peete.
For a while.
Peete suffered a season-ending knee injury against Dallas during the fifth game of the year, which led to Detmer stepping under center.
"He had torn his knee up pretty bad and I was finally going to get my chance and get some extended playing time. Hopefully," Detmer says.
Detmer's first opportunity to start a game occurred following a bye, two weeks later, against the New York Giants at the Meadowlands. Yes, it was his fifth season in the league, but that didn't mean he wasn't nervous or anxious.
"Oh, yeah, I was a little of both," laughed Detmer. "That first start is something that you've waited for your whole life. I just wanted to go out and perform and not embarrass myself, but at the same time play well and help the team.
"And at that time, we had a good defense. We felt that they were going to do a good job with (the Giants). So go in and take care of the football and not make mistakes. Make a couple of plays along the way and we'd probably be successful. And that's what happened that game."
It is also what happened the next game against Miami. The game after that against Carolina. And the following game in Dallas, which was a homecoming for the Texas native and one-time Cowboys fan who rooted for Roger Staubach.
Philadelphia outscored its opponents 105-68 during the four-game win streak, improving its record to 7-2 en route to a 10-6 mark and a Wild Card playoff berth.
After 14 years in the NFL with the Eagles, Packers, San Francisco, Cleveland, Detroit, and Atlanta, Detmer now makes his home in Phoenix, Arizona, where he is the athletic director for three American Leadership Academies: Queen Creek, Gilbert, and Ironwood.
"I had nieces and nephews that went to school at one of the academies, and then I had some acquaintances that were executive members of the team. I saw how they ran things and watched from the sidelines for a year, and then we started talking and felt like I could be a resource for the coaches in the district," Detmer says.
"It was a good fit for the way they do things and the values taught at the school. And it just kind of grew into working with the district and helping all three programs."
This fall, Detmer is also adding the duty of being the head football coach at Queen Creek. He last coached in 2017 when he was the offensive coordinator at BYU, and missed working from the sideline on gamedays.
"The interaction with the kids, that's what you miss. Being the A.D., you kind of dealt more with the coaches instead of really being more hands-on with the players. So I missed that part of it," Detmer says. "I tell people high school's a lot of fun because you see them come in as 14-year-old knuckleheads and then they're leaving as 18-year-old young men ready to take the next chapter on.
"They learn some things along the way, especially on the football field. You see a kid who does it wrong. You coach him up and help him understand why it that's way, and then all of a sudden, they get it. That makes it all worthwhile."
Detmer and his wife, Kim, have four daughters: Kaili, Aubri, Mayci, and Rylli; and two grandchildren.