Five-time “Survivor” castaway Rob Mariano has been known as “Boston Rob” seemingly forever, but he recently explained where the nickname came from — it was actually Jeff Probst who bestowed the moniker on Mariano and the nickname very nearly went to a different Rob. Read on to find out the story and also when he truly became the “Boston Rob” character.
There Was Almost A ‘New York Rob’ Instead
On a recent episode of the “Surviving Snyder” podcast, Mariano recounted how during “Survivor: Marquesas,” which was his first season playing the game, there were two Roberts in the cast — himself and Robert DeCanio from New York. And the nickname “New York Rob” was almost bestowed on DeCanio instead of “Boston Rob” being bestowed on Mariano.
“There was a Tribal Council, it was after the merge, and we were both at Tribal Council and Jeff asked a question and he said, ‘Rob, blah blah blah,’ and we both started answering at the same time and he was like, ‘Oh wow, two Robs, how are we gonna handle this?'” recalled Mariano.
He continued, “I didn’t say anything but The General, or Rob DeCanio, he said something like, ‘Well, I’m from New York, so you can call me “New York Rob,”‘ something like that and Jeff was like, ‘Yeah, OK, where are you from?’ And I was like, ‘I’m from Boston’ and he said, ‘Alright, “Boston Rob”‘ and that was it. From then on he called me Boston Rob and New York Rob was just Rob [with Probst]. [Around camp] he was the General and that was it.”
In case you’ve forgotten, during “Marquesas,” people started calling DeCanio “The General” because he had a big tattoo of a cartoon general on his arm that actually had “The General” written underneath it.
When Did Mariano Really Become ‘Boston Rob,’ Though?
On the podcast, Dalton Ross, who has covered “Survivor” at “Entertainment Weekly” for the show’s entire run, said that he remembers the moment Mariano actually became the persona we all know as “Boston Rob.” It was during the pre-show interviews for season eight, which was the first all-star season.
“I interviewed Rob before the game and … he wasn’t the guy [the other players] had their eye on — you had [Richard] Hatch, you had Colby [Donaldson], you had Tina [Wesson], you had Ethan [Zohn],” recalled Ross.
“And I’m sitting in this room with [Mariano] and he says, ‘Keep this tape,'” Ross continued. “‘Keep this tape because I’m telling you now I’m winning this game … you didn’t win, but obviously you dominated the game and as we all saw, that’s when you became ‘Boston Rob.'”
Mariano joked that in his house, his wife Amber Brkich Mariano, who won all-stars sitting next to him at the finale, would “always tell me who the winner was in my own house” before he won “Redemption Island.”
“Survivor” returns for its 41st season on Wednesday, September 22. The 42nd season will air in the spring of 2022. Also, the show is currently casting for seasons 43 and 44, so apply now!