From Super Bowls to Seniors: 49ers Legend New Face of Medicare

Joe Montana

Getty It's been nearly 30 years since Joe Montana, left, played for San Francisco. He's now a company ambassador for Medicare products.

That San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl dynasty run of the 1980s and early ’90s was a long time ago — nobody disputes that. But Niners fans might not necessarily want a reminder of it, either, especially as the 2021 version sits in its bye week at 2-3 and last place in the NFC West.

Nevertheless, a national advertisement campaign might saturate them with that type of reminder this fall.

Joe Montana, the Hall of Fame quarterback who led the 49ers to four Super Bowl titles during his 16-year career, is one of the new faces for Medicare.

Montana signed a multi-year agreement earlier this year with Centene Corporation as the company brand ambassador for Wellcare, Centene announced in a September 15 press release.

As a spokesperson, Montana will promote the company’s Medicare Advantage plans “on TV commercials, digital ads, social media, and other communications,” according to the press release.

Medicare is the federal health insurance program generally reserved for people 65 years and older, while Medicare Advantage plans enable seniors to enhance their coverage. Montana turned 65 on June 11, and his role as plan ambassador will be to connect with Medicare-eligible adults and let them know about all their health care options, the company statement said.

“As a former athlete, my health has always been a top priority,” said Montana, drafted by the 49ers in 1979 out of Notre Dame, in the press release. “When I turned 65, I knew I wanted a quality Medicare plan that was reliable and hassle-free. That’s why I selected Wellcare and look forward to sharing my experience with others.”

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‘Joe Cool’ Chosen for ‘Straightforward Approach’ in Rebranding

Joe Montana

GettyJoe Montana is known for going 4-0 in Super Bowls, including the casual way he beat the Bengals in the 1989 Super Bowl.

The company signed Montana — nicknamed “Joe Cool” from his playing days when he racked up four Super Bowl titles and three Super Bowl MVP awards without throwing a single Super Bowl interception — as part of a change in messaging. The brand wanted to “take a more straightforward approach in tone and voice to deliver on its brand promise to offer an easy, hassle-free experience,” according to the press release.

Straightforward, easy, hassle-free?

Sounds like the guy who casually pointed out actor John Candy in the stands before leading his team on a 92-yard touchdown drive in under 3 minutes to win the 1989 Super Bowl over the Bengals.

“Joe is an inspiring, legendary athlete who personifies the Wellcare brand with his commitment to his personal health, wellbeing, and straightforward, no-nonsense approach,” said Suzy DePrizio, SVP and chief marketing officer for Centene, parent company of Wellcare, in the press release. “We’re proud to have him join our team.”

Teenaged Tom Brady Attended Montana’s Last San Francisco Game

Tom and Joe

GettyTom Brady talks with Hall of Famer Joe Montana prior to the 2020 Super Bowl between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs at Hard Rock Stadium.

It’s been almost 30 years since Montana played for the 49ers.

His last game at Candlestick Park, the old Niners’ home, was in a meaningless end-of-the-season Monday night affair on December 28, 1992. Montana’s replacement, Steve Young, played the first half of that game, which the Niners led 7-6 at halftime. Young, at that point, was seen as the true No. 1 quarterback in the Bay Area, having kept the team as a top contender in the conference while he assumed starting duties the year before after Montana went out with an elbow injury.

Montana played the second half of the game, completing 15 of 21 passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 28 yards, one of which came on a 16-yard gain, which wasn’t the norm for the tried and true pocket-passer. He’d go on to play his final two seasons for the Kansas City Chiefs.

It was a game attended by a then 15-year-old Tom Brady, who grew up in the Bay Area as a 49ers fan. NBC Sports PFT reporter Mike Florio captured the moment in history in his March 24, 2020, column after Brady signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“I’ll never forget that. He was an incredible player,” Brady told reporters, according to Florio. “He and Steve Young were my quarterback idols growing up.”

Three decades later, Montana, a slightly grayer version, will be appearing on television frequently again.

The annual enrollment period for seniors to sign up for Medicare Advantage plans runs October 15 through December 7, which is also the time insurance companies blitz out as much advertising for their products as possible. Centene markets plans in all 50 states, so as of last Friday, “The Comeback Kid,” as he was called, should be a regular sight on screens everywhere — just like he was during his playing days, only for a slightly different reason.

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