The time has arrived.
When I began this feature, I wanted to answer Survivor‘s biggest question and the one that people most often ask me.
Who is Survivor‘s greatest player?
The answer is simple and it was never really in doubt. At least for people that know me. In fact, it is simple even for people that don’t because it is so obvious and unquestionable.
Survivor‘s greatest player is Boston Rob Mariano.
Let the criticism commence. But before it does, I’d like to present my argument.
I am fully aware that Rob has never won a season of Survivor. I am also aware that he did not make the jury when he first landed in Marquesas. And that he didn’t win when he played again on Survivor All-Stars. He also will not win Survivor Heroes vs. Villains. But leaving those points aside, there are many things he has accomplished and he has done these in a fashion that no one has before him and that no one will after.
Boston Rob Mariano is Survivor. He is the definition of the show. He is dominant. The reason that I like him so much is because he is so successful at playing the game in a way that you aren’t supposed to.
He owns every challenge that he is in. That is a point that cannot be argued. The examples are too many to list. When the pressure is on, he comes through just like all the big-time players do. Remember the archery challenge in All-Stars against Jerri? He didn’t have to take on the pressure-induced situation of being the hero if he won or the goat if he lost, but he did without question. He was a leader and he came through. The same thing happened as recently as last night’s episode of the show. Once again, he assumed control of the immunity challenge and single-handedly coached his team, (a team of All-Stars don’t forget), to victory.
The best part about his game is that he is unapologetic. He knows that he will always be a threat but doesn’t hide behind this. While many purists will argue that the best way to win Survivor is to play under-the-radar and to not make any waves, Rob spits in the face of this thinking. He knows he is the best and dares anyone to prove him differently. No one can.
Let’s not underestimate his social game as well. Another contender for the crown was Jonny Fairplay, who called me to tell me that Rob and Russell play the same kind of game and that they do not play to win but play the best second-place game around. Unfortunately, I cannot accept this point. The reason that Rob lost All-Stars is because the jury was bitter. Plain and simple. While I do not condone what he did to Lex van den Berghe, he still did it in a game and while I believe that he at least owed Lex one more tribal council before he stabbed the knife in his back, I still can understand why he did it. The jury should have looked past this indiscretion and awarded the victory to the player that not only played the best, but completely controlled the fate of any player that was on his tribe. It is for that reason that I feel the game is flawed. In no other contest would the losers come back to decide the winner. That’s like beating your entire family in Monopoly and then the rules tell you that the amount of money you collected means nothing and that the people you just beat have to vote for you to get the win.
For all of Rob’s abrasiveness, he is also quite charming and anyone that has played with him will vouch for this fact.
Some will argue that Rob gave up this season and that he checked out. I am sure that even Rob will agree that he did. But Survivor is a hard game and it is easy for all of us Friday morning quarterbacks to comment on his quitting. It is impossible to understand the circumstances unless we were there and we weren’t. Do you want to know what I remember the most from the episode where Rob threatened to leave? It wasn’t the medical team that came out to assist him or Jeff Probst’s pep talk. It was the fact that the Robfather came back and even stronger. He proved his resiliency.
When I watch Rob on Survivor, I often feel like we are not even worthy to witness his mastery of the game. It’s like seeing Michael Jordan shoot a basketball or Sidney Crosby score the game-winning goal in an overtime Olympic hockey game for gold. He is just that good.
On the first season of my show, Reality Obsessed, I held a cross-show all star contest. It featured the best of the best from every major reality program. James Zincaid from Big Brother. Jen Parker from The Amazing Race. Jenn Hoffman from The Apprentice. Rob owned them all and they will all tell you this. While I devised a series of challenges to determine who was the greatest reality star of all-time, Rob came up with the idea to buy drinks for his opponents during lunch. When they came back plastered, Rob admitted that he had been sipping the same beer the entire time. You cannot teach somebody to do that. It comes naturally to the greatest.
Rob can outwit, outplay and outlast anybody that has been on the show. While you may not like him or respect the way that he plays, he is the best.
Over the last few weeks, I detailed the best of the best in Survivor. But for all of them that I listed, there is no doubt that Rob Mariano is the greatest Survivor of all time.
Tags: Boston Rob Mariano, greatest survivor player of all time, Survivor