Shortly after Adam Schefter reported the San Francisco 49ers were going to hire John Lynch as their next general manager, team CEO Jed York provided a brief comment to the San Jose Mercury News. However, as is often the case when 49ers news breaks over the weekend, his first major comment was to MMQB editor Peter King. He told King that Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch are not afraid of failure, and neither is he.
“Nothing is guaranteed,” York said late Sunday night. (He also said, “I need some sleep.”) “But so many opportunities are missed in the NFL because people don’t want to do something different. We’re okay with that, because I am confident in Kyle and John. John has watched John Elway, and how he’s built a team in Denver. As easy as it is to say he hasn’t built a team yet—I get that—I talk to Kyle, and he says John is the most prepared of all the TV [people] he meets in the production meetings before games. We understand we’ll have to live with growing pains, but I’m willing to do that because I believe the upside with both of them is so great.”
The 49ers will likely wait until next week to hold a joint press conference with Lynch and Shanahan. There will be plenty to hear in the meantime, between talks with the media and John Lynch’s own comments later this week during Super Bowl Hall of Fame week festivities. Lynch is a finalist and I imagine his hiring means plenty more media time.
There will be plenty of comparisons between Lynch and Elway given their respective times in Denver. Of course, we could also make the comparison to Matt Millen. The one-time NFL player joined the broadcasting booth following his playing career, and then left in 2001 to become Detroit Lions CEO and GM. We know how that worked out.
Elway had no NFL personnel experience when he took over as Broncos GM, but did serve as co-owner of an AFL team from 2002 to 2008, and ran various other businesses. It was basic executive experience that we don’t see with Lynch. It does not mean Lynch won’t succeed, but the lack of experience means we can’t really assume much of anything. It is very much an outside the box hiring, for which I think the 49ers deserve at least a little bit of credit. But to say with any confidence that it will be a successful decision in the long-run is a stretch for the time being.