Sep 9, 2010 9:55 PM by Alison Haynes
MIAMI (AP) - Jimmy Johnson has become a "Survivor" celebrity,
even though he has yet to appear on the show.
Johnson says he knew the CBS reality series was popular, but
lately he's surprised to find himself talking more about his
experience on "Survivor: Nicaragua" than about football.
"I had a call from my stockbroker today," Johnson said during
a conference call Thursday. "He said, `Coach, my wife could care
less if you won national championships or Super Bowls - and we live
in Dallas. Could you send her an autographed picture? Because she's
a huge "Survivor" fan.'
"That's the typical response I'm getting."
The premiere airs Wednesday, and the 67-year-old Johnson's
involvement has already received considerable attention since
taping concluded this summer.
The former coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins,
University of Miami and Oklahoma State spent more than a month as
one of 20 castaways. He was part of a team of 10 contestants over
the age of 40 competing against a group 30 and under.
The famous ex-coach and former psychology major said he got
along well with the others.
"They're fans, and they enjoy talking football," he said.
"When things were kind of rough and we were lying on the bamboo at
night, they'd say, `Jimmy, give us a football story.' We really had
a great relationship."
To preserve the show's suspense, Johnson didn't say how he
fared, or even how much weight he lost. But he said he has only
gained about half back.
Johnson's a longtime fan of the show and loves the outdoors. But
he said that while he's glad he had the experience, he wouldn't do
"The other day I was talking about how we all smelled, and
someone said, `Why didn't you just go take a shower?"' Johnson
said. "I said, 'What, do you think there's a Ritz Carlton down the
street? I didn't have any other clothes. I was soaking wet the
"It was grueling. It was so much more difficult than I ever
Johnson's not only thinner, but his famous hair is shorter. He
cut it before the show to simplify maintenance.
"I did have my hair shorter than it has been since I've been in
high school," he said. "A big part of the show, I was standing
there in my underwear, so I wasn't really concerned what I looked
Johnson said he doesn't expect "Survivor" celebrity to alter
his image, because it was already well established.
"I've gone through national championships, a couple of Super
Bowls, I've had my ups and downs," he said. "I went through a
1-15 season in Dallas. I went through a season in high school of
not winning a game. I've been through the whole gamut.
"My image is out there, whatever it is. Maybe the Redskins fans
and Eagles fans can't stand me, and a lot of Cowboys fans love me.
I don't think `Survivor' is going to change that."