Jimmy Johnson will not be adding the title of ‘Sole Survivor’ to his formidable list of accomplishments anytime soon. The two-time Super Bowl winning coach was voted out of Survivor: Nicaragua last night, undone by other men jealous of his success and celebrity status. I talked with Jimmy today about the plot to get him out, his frustration with Jimmy T., and how he dealt with his ultimate foe in the game — Father Time. Read on after the jump for the full Q&A!
Why is Dan still in this game? The guy can barely walk!
Just following Survivor over the years, sometimes if an individual is not a threat and he doesn’t rub anybody the wrong way and he can get into an alliance, he can hang out there for a while. And that’s the only thing I can think about on that one.
How come you didn’t make a strong move to get him out?
I approached the game a little differently. I went into it just wanting the adventure. I had no thoughts that I’d be going out to win a million dollars or anything like that. In fact, I told people that if we ever got to that point that I was going to give it to charity anyway. I had my adventure. I really didn’t have an alliance. I probably could have formed an alliance with the gals and gotten Dan out of there. But I really approached it like a team effort. As much as I tried to convince them that I wasn’t a threat, Marty and some of the rest of them still felt like I was.
You’re a keen evaluator, so were you aware out there that Marty was trying to pull a power move?
No. It was a surprise, Even watching the episode last night, that was a surprise to me. I didn’t know that was taking place, because Marty and I had plenty of conversations and I didn’t know that he was in an alliance with Dan. I assumed he had an alliance with Jill, but he also had a connection with Daniel, too. And I didn’t know that he still considered me a threat.
Was this about jealousy? Everyone wants to take down the top dog, and you being a celebrity, that made you the top dog.
I don’t know. If it was, more power to them. They stayed in the game and I didn’t. But I never looked at it that way,
Let’s talk about Jimmy T. I was out there and saw you getting annoyed at him at the very first challenge when he tried to yell instructions to the other team doing the puzzle to confuse them. How hard was it to know that this was not a football team and you couldn’t just walk over and say, “Hey, you’re cut.”
Jimmy T. is a volatile person and I think he probably irritated — just with his personality — a lot of people. In fact, the very first vote we could have taken Jimmy T. out. There were a lot of tribe members that wanted Jimmy T. to go the very first week. And I kind of convinced them not to take him out, because I was thinking we were going to have some physical challenges. As it turned out, we didn’t have a lot of physical challenges. Even on the challenge last night he was in my ear continuously. He wasn’t even supposed to be in the rotation to throw the sand bags. Tyrone was supposed to be out there. But kept on and kept on, so finally I said “Okay, get in there.” That’s just his personality.
When I watched you lose that first challenge, I said to myself immediately, ‘That guy’s gotta go. He’s too divisive.’
Well, I hung on to him for the simple reason that I thought we’d have some physical challenges, but as it turned out, really it was never a factor. At least while I was there.
You kept talking about how difficult it was out there, saying it was even harder than two-a-days. How much do you wish you could have played this game when you were in your 20s or 30s, as opposed to your 60s?
I talked to my wife about it last night. I think when you look at how taxing it is on the individual, it’s even more taxing on an older player. Because some of those young players can lose 8 or 9 pounds, and not have their food, and lose some sleep, and deal with it. There at the end, I had lost 18 pounds. I had no energy of any sort. I really felt like it was more demanding because of me being 67 years old.
Who were you closest with out there?
The closest relationships I made were with the women: Holly, Yve, Jane, and even Jill. And I thought I had a good relationship with Marty, but I didn’t know Marty was trying to get me out.
That’s interesting because you’re the ultimate guy’s guy — a football champion at pretty much every level.
With the men, it was a little bit different of a relationship because of my celebrity status. It probably bothered them. Even though they’re football fans, I think it bothered them a little bit more than the women.
There was some controversy last week over Shannon’s comments at Tribal Council, asking Sash if he was gay and saying that New York was full of gay people. What was your reaction while watching that go down?
I actually thought it was funny. I was really taken aback by some of the comments. I was just there laughing. I called my wife and said, “You gotta see this.”
Finally, how bad are you gonna get it from Terry Bradshaw this weekend on Fox NFL Sunday?
Well, I’ve already caught some flak because we had a conference call a few minutes ago to get ready for the show and I’ll catch a bit more. But I told him, “At least I threw you into the game when I said that we could really talk to those monkeys if we had Bradshaw here.”
Check out Jimmy’s pre-game interview as well as an exclusive deleted scene from last night’s episode below. And for more Survivor scoop, follow me on Twitter @EWDaltonRoss.
Survivor: Nicaragua recap: The Hood, the Bad, and the Ugly