The San Francisco 49ers turned some heads Sunday night, when they announced the hiring of John Lynch as general manager. Many people, including 49ers CEO Jed York, were quick to bring up the success John Elway has had in the role with the Denver Broncos.

“John [Lynch] has watched John Elway, and how he’s built a team in Denver,” York told MMQB’s Peter King.

Their career trajectory of Lynch and Elway however, isn’t as similar as it seems on the surface. Though it wasn’t at the NFL level, Elway had experience as a football executive. He owned ran the Arena Football League’s Colorado Crush for seven season, leading them to a championship in 2005. He was also , at one point, elected chairman of the league’s executive committee.

Elway also brought business acumen to the table, having owned a series of successful steakhouses and car dealerships. Though he hadn’t worked in the NFL since retiring, Elway had experience in football management, managing people and in business.

Though he was primarily known for his physicality, Lynch was also a smart player. He has shown his knowledge of the game through his astute commentary as a broadcaster for Fox. Still, his resume pales in comparison to Elway’s.

The Broncos took a risk when they hired John Elway. The 49ers are taking a far bigger risk by hiring John Lynch. Comparing the two isn’t quite apples to apples, in fact, it probably puts unfair pressure on Lynch, as Elway found success immediately.

“We understand we’ll have to live with growing pains,” said York.