It took four trips and 117 days of playing "Survivor," but "Boston Rob" finally outplayed, outwitted and outlasted everyone. And in the show that aired Sunday night, he was crowned the winner of "Survivor: Redemption Island."
Rob Mariano received his $1 million check on "The Early Show" Monday.
He won an additional $100,000 for being voted the fan favorite.
But Mariano is no stranger to "Survivor" winnings. His wife, Amber Brkich Mariano, also won $1 million on the show, in 2004.
So with all those winnings, it's no surprise that Mariano arrived on "The Early Show" with a smile.
But he did have his doubts when he left the game in Nicaragua.
"That final tribal council I had a good feeling, but with everything in 'Survivor,' you don't want to get overconfident," he said.
But Mariano's did say his experience on the show helped him on his fourth go-round.
"I used what I brought to the game from my past experiences, was able to get my foot in the door, and the people were responsive to that," he said.
"Early Show" co-anchor Chris Wragge said Jeff Probst, host of the show, said Mariano played as close to a perfect game as anyone in the entire 22 seasons of the series.
Mariano called the comment from Probst a "huge compliment."
"(He's) someone that's seen every season of the show play out from beginning to end," Mariano said. "I think it could have gone either way from the beginning this time around."
Wragge said, "When you got down to the final three, though, anybody who's watched 'Survivor' knows it's all about making sure you're the strongest one left there at the end. And you had two, with all due respect ... you had two relatively weaker contestants there with you at the very end. Was that the play all along?"
"Of course, yeah," Mariano said. "I mean, that's part of the game plan -- to sit with someone who you think you can beat at the end."
Mariano lost to his wife - then fiancee -- in the 2004 all-stars game of "Survivor." They now have two daughters. Wragge asked if Mariano thought the vote would go against him because his wife had already won.
Mariano joked, "Listen, I'm glad they haven't. Because for the past seven years, I've had to hear it in my own house, OK? It wasn't so much about the money. She's getting the check anyway. But now, I'm at least on a level playing field with my wife when it comes to winners in the 'Survivor' household!"
In fact, Mariano said he kept it secret that he was even in the final round.
He said, "You know what was great? Was that we finished filming this back in September, and I didn't tell Amber the end-result. I actually led her to believe that I was voted off at the final four. So it was a great surprise for her last night. And you know, I had to keep it a secret for a long time. But I was happy to be able to do that for her."
During the show, Mariano, Wragge said, forged a relationship with Natalie Tenerelli, another contestant. Was Mariano's wife jealous of that bond at all?
"Natalie was like a little sister to me," Mariano said. "She really was. She was very sweet. And you know what? At her age -- 19 years old -- it was a true testament to, you know, a real coming-of-age story. So I was happy that Natalie, you know, was able to go as far as she did with me."
As for his life after "Survivor," Mariano said he plans to begin a project with the History Channel and top independent producer Thom Beers.
Mariano said he likely won't come back to the CBS hit show again.
"At this point, there would be no point," he said. "I've accomplished everything I wanted to ever accomplish with 'Survivor,' so I'm happy with my legacy the way it stands."