Is Brad Culpepper The Greatest Pro Athlete in Survivor History?

  • David Gonos

Best Pro Athlete in Survivor History Brad Culpepper-Jeff-Haynes

On May 31, 2000, Survivor premiered on American televisions, changing the landscape of TV programming, and instituting a new reality TV show era in pop culture. The 34th season of the show, Survivor: Game Changers, finished Wednesday night, and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive lineman Brad Culpepper finished as the runner-up!

Pro athletes on Survivor isn’t anything new, dating all the way back to the show’s 11th season, Survivor: Guatemala, when former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Gary Hogeboom competed in the reality show. There have also been actors and other prominent people that have played in the reality competition series, but the pro athletes on Survivor seem to have a leg up, in that their profession directly helps them in endurance and in many of the competitions.

But many other competitors want to get rid of those pro athletes for that reason, and because they assume pro athletes still have money from their big contracts during their brief playing careers.

So who was the greatest athlete in Survivor history? Of course, without playing these people against each other in the same season, we might never know. But we can look at their finishes in each season, to see where they placed, and compare them indirectly in that way!

Who Was the Greatest Pro Athlete in Survivor History?

Before we get into the list, we’re letting you know now that we don’t count Ethan Zohn, who won Survivor: Africa in the third season of the series back in 2001. You have to have been involved in U.S. pro sports in my opinion because I’m a jerk. We’re also not counting Ashley Massaro, a former pro wrestler that played on Survivor: China in 2007, and we don’t count eSports gamer Ken Hoang, from 2008’s Survivor: Gabon. Finally, I’m not counting Miami Marlins President David Samson, since he wasn’t an athlete – and was the first voted off of Survivor: Cagayan, anyway!

Photo Credit: CBS Photo Archive, Getty Images

David Gonos

David Gonos has been writing about sports online since 2001, including,,, and