‘Survivor 40: Winners at War’ Boston Rob Mariano Pulled a ‘Survivor’ First at the Third Tribal Council

As one of the best Survivor players in the history of the franchise, surprisingly, Boston Rob Mariano isn’t a target on Survivor 40: Winners at War because his tribemates are afraid to go after “the Godfather.” After 40 seasons of the show, now five of which Mariano has competed in, he pulled a Survivor first at Tribal Council.

*SPOILER ALERT* This article contains information from Survivor 40: Winners at War Episode 3.

Boston Rob Mariano
Boston Rob Mariano | CBS

Boston Rob Mariano’s ‘Survivor’ career

Eighteen years ago, Boston Rob Mariano made his Survivor debut in the fourth season, Marquesas. After a tribe switch, he ended up in the minority, and the new tribe wanted to eliminate him first due to his perceived lazy work ethic around camp.

However, he was spared, and his incredible ability to perform in challenges helped prevent him from going to Tribal Council. Mariano made it to the merge but was voted out that episode when he attempted to throw his alliance under the bus.

He came back four seasons later for All-Stars, where he almost immediately aligned with Amber Brkich. During a tribe swap, Brkich was the only contestant who switched to another tribe, so Mariano proposed a deal to his friend in the real world, Lex van den Berghe, to save her. He agreed, but Mariano turned on him after the merge.

Brkich and Mariano made it to the Final Tribal Council, but his deceptive ways cost him the victory to his love interest in a 4-3 vote. At the reunion, Mariano proposed to Brkich and the two married the following year.

They currently have four children. He returned for Season 20’s Heroes vs. Villains as part of the villains’ tribe. Even though Mariano had the majority, rival Russell Hantz eliminated Mariano’s closest ally and convinced another to swap alliances.

Now in the minority, Mariano was voted off pre-merge. Mariano and Hantz returned two seasons later to settle their feud for Redemption Island, where the Massachusetts-native finally won. He then came back for Season 39 Island of the Idols as a mentor.

Boston Rob Mariano on ‘Survivor 40: Winners at War’

Despite being the only contestant to have played five times, and considered one of the best Survivor players ever, Mariano made it through his first two Tribal Councils without any votes.

His mere presence convinced Ben Driebergen to tell him who threw his name out for elimination, and he already developed an old school alliance as well as picked Parvati Shallow as his number one.

Additionally, even after losing his wife to the Edge of Extinction, Mariano seems to be controlling the Sele tribe already as Adam Klein called him the “Godfather” and admitted he was afraid to go after the 44-year-old.

Boston Rob Mariano pulled a ‘Survivor’ first

During Mariano’s second Tribal Council, Driebergen began talking about everyone “running around” and acting paranoid, and Mariano and Shallow pointed out the veteran does the same thing.

The Old School alliance and Jeremy Collins then began whispering among themselves until Driebergen explained he was a target because of his idol finds.

The comment caught Mariano’s attention, who then told everyone to empty their bags in search of the idol. Surprisingly, everyone complied without any resistance, other than Klein, who presumably wanted to take the attention off the idol holder, Denise Stapley.


The Philippines winner wisely tucked the idol under the flap of her bag, and no one found it. However, Mariano making all the tribe members empty their bags to prove they didn’t have the idol at Tribal Council, is a Survivor first.

Watch Survivor 40: Winners at War Wednesdays at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.