September 30, 2010
Shutdown Corner's "Survivor" correspondent is Chris Wilcox, longtime Cowboys fan and proprietor of BlueandOrange.net.
Bad news for fans of the Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, Miami Hurricanes, and FOX NFL Sunday: the Coach has been fired. Last week, it looked like he had moved onto more solid footing within the older tribe, but the tide shifted in the days since and he became the third person voted off of Survivor Nicaragua.
From the start, it seemed that Marty, the technology executive and Jimmy T., the crab fisherman, both had it out for the Coach. Losing any immunity challenges, which would force the older tribe to vote a member out, would be against Johnson's best interests, as they surely would have sharpened the knives the second they had to vote somebody out. Yet last week, Holly, the swim coach, made herself a target by briefly losing touch with reality.* This week, Dan, the real estate agent, was shown to be something of a liability for the tribe with a bum knee that hurt his ability to assist in challenges.
* Ironic that Jimmy Johnson's pep talk to Holly last week may have cost him, as she almost certainly would have gone home had he not helped bring her back to realiy. She even voted against the poor Coach.
Yet neither came in with the target of being a celebrity like the Coach. It didn't help matters that Johnson continued to himself point out to the tribe that he was among their weakest players, giving them even more of an excuse to vote him out. It may not have even been true, as the Coach was seen performing quite well in challenges, but the more Johnson called attention to his own flaws, either real or imaginary, it made them seem more true in the eyes of his team.
This week's reward/immunity challenge involved rolling several barrels across the beach to platforms, then throwing bean bags from a line onto the top of the barrels, which were progressively further away. The winning tribe won not only immunity, but fruit and spices to help make their food taste a little bit better. The younger tribe, sensing that they would not require an advantage to beat the older tribe, decided against using the medallion of power.
The older tribe kept pace with the younger tribe early on, and even took an early lead on the bean bag toss thanks to the efforts of Tyrone, the fireman. Eventually, Tyrone went cold on the bean bag toss and the younger tribe was able to catch up, then take the lead. Jimmy T. begged the Coach to "put him in," so to speak, and eventually the Coach relented, but it wasn't enough as the younger tribe brought home the victory, and with that, the Coach was doomed, voted out by his tribe unanimously.
Coach Johnson was quite gracious in his final words, holding no ill will towards those who voted him off. Despite Marty's attempts to blindside the coach, he seemed to know it was coming and was at peace with it. When host Jeff Probst posed that question to his eight teammates, none of the others were willing to admit weakness, even though the older team's performance in challenges has been far from strong, but the Coach did not try to hide and admitted his own weaknesses. I almost wonder if he welcomed being voted off, based on how at ease he was with being voted off and by his claims in confessionals that this was the hardest thing he ever had to do.
In the end, while he was able to use his leadership skills to win National Championships and Super Bowls, it wasn't enough to lead him to victory in Survivor. I'm guessing the Coach will stick to NFL pregame shows from now on.
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