As one of this season's oldest contestants, legendary NFL coach Jimmy Johnson, 67, thought himself to be no threat in the game of Survivor. However, with his celebrity came a target when, from the get-go, his teammates believed his leadership skills on football field would translate to the game and, in the end, ultimately work to his advantage.
After losing another tossing-based challenge to the younger La Flor tribe, it was Jimmy’s Espada tribe that faced another Tribal Council, where they would lose a second tribe member. Following the challenge, it was Marty Piombo who would orchestrate the tribe's voting order and convince almost everyone that removing Jimmy, whom he believed was the weakest player, would be the most beneficial move.
“I accomplished what I wanted to do and that was to have a great adventure,” Jimmy tells In Touch. “I thought I had convinced everyone that I wasn’t a threat and that they shouldn’t have to worry about me. It might have been naive on my part to think I could have played under the radar and enjoy the adventure."
Jimmy admits he’s not bitter about his tribe’s decision and wishes they hadn’t made it, but he's still eager for one of his tribe-mates to win the $1 million prize. “I’d love see anyone in my tribe win the million bucks, but with the tribe carrying Daniel, it’s going to be tough.”
For more with Jimmy click here.
Name: Jimmy Johnson
Eliminated: September 29
Did having celebrity going into the game make you a bigger target?
Jimmy: I was hoping it would work to my favor, as I tried to convince everyone that I wasn’t going to win the million dollars or wasn’t a threat. I thought I had convinced everyone of that, but I guess I miscalculated because Marty still felt I was a threat and needed to get me out of there.
Do you think voting you out was a smart move?
Jimmy: I don’t know if it was a smart or dumb move – I wish they hadn’t made it. Had I known they felt I was a threat, I would have at least tried to form an alliance. I think I would have gotten the women on my side and protected myself, and probably would have gotten Daniel out. I didn’t realize until I watched the show that Daniel was aligned with Jill and Marty, and that he was the one trying to get me out of there.
How was the Survivor experience for you overall?
Jimmy: I am probably a bigger fan of the show now than I have even been. I don’t know if I could have been a bigger fan prior to this! I love the show and now knowing the dynamics and how difficult it is, I don’t think anyone watching can really get the full impact of how difficult it is when you are dehydrated, don’t have food or sleep, it’s cold and raining — just really harsh conditions. You can’t really feel that watching it on TV. It was so much harder than I ever thought it would be.
Do you think saying you weren’t there to win defeated the purpose of being out there?
Jimmy: No, as prior to the show I told the producers and everyone that my ultimate goal was to have an adventure, and if I got to the final three, I was going to give the money to charity. I even listed the charities that would get the money: Make-A-Wish, cystic fibrosis, one Terry Bradshaw has called Pigs For Jesus, where he raises them and cuts them up to feed the poor. I wanted the adventure, and I did that.
Did you feel you might be going at Tribal Council?
Jimmy: I knew I was one of the weaker players at 67, but feel I contributed in strategy. I worked around the camp with fishing, so I was able to some things and was not one of the weaker players. I thought Daniel was and felt he would have been the person to go. I didn’t want to be the boss or leader, but I was thrown into that role, not really wanting it.
What’s next for you?
Jimmy: I am back on Fox NFL Sunday, and I’ll also be watching the upcoming Survivor episodes with a lot of enthusiasm to see how it all plays out. Apart from the Fox show, it’s back to my normal life of fishing and scuba diving.