Jimmy Johnson: My NFL Stories Helped ‘Survivor’ Pals Survive

by | September 10, 2010 at 10:08 AM | Fall TV Preview 2010, RealityTV, Survivor, TV News

Jimmy Johnson on 'Survivor: Nicaragua' (CBS)

Jimmy Johnson on 'Survivor: Nicaragua' (CBS)

Never underestimate the motivational power of a pro football yarn starring Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith. That’s something former Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson learned as he competed on CBS’ ‘Survivor: Nicaragua,’ premiering Wednesday, September 15.

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Johnson says that his ‘Survivor’ team of 10 players age 40 and up (competing against a group age 30 and younger) “enjoy[ed] talking football.” As such, “When things were kind of rough and we were lying on the bamboo at night, they’d say, ‘Jimmy, give us a football story’” – and he’d oblige, helping distract them from the extreme environs and keep their collective chin up.

“We really had a great relationship,” Johnson said during a press conference call touting the new ‘Survivor’ season.

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No amount of college and NFL football anecdotes though could spell Johnson’s 67-year-old frame as he endured the reality competition’s games and gamesmanship.

Though he has faced and navigated “national championships, a couple of Super Bowls… a 1-15 season in Dallas… a season in high school of not winning a game… the whole gamut,” Johnson admits that his unspecified amount of time on ‘Survivor: Nicaragua’ was indeed “grueling. It was so much more difficult than I ever imagined.”