Marcus and Amani Pollard's $1 million hopes on The Amazing Race finale ended almost as soon as the leg began in their Atlanta hometown when the former Indianapolis Colts tight end toiled at the first task of landing a simulated aircraft. Still, the couple believed that another comeback could be in the cards. "We didn't feel like [our setback] was insurmountable, but at the same time, being in it with people who love to compete and want to finish first, it makes it tougher," Marcus tells TVGuide.com. So why did he have so much trouble landing? Why didn't he and Amani switch? And how do they feel about being called "C students"? Find out below.
Marcus: I've been trying to explain to people that it's like me, 6-foot-5, 255 pounds, in a small car. Those simulator planes aren't [suitable] for my size. My feet and my knees weren't able to control the brakes properly. But I think the bigger problem is that I really don't like flying, to be honest with you. And every time we landed, it really felt like you were on a plane. I kept getting frustrated that I could not land this plane, but having a great partner, a great teammate, a great wife, she just calmed me down and let me know that it's OK. ... I don't remember [how long it took]. At one point they showed 12 [times] on the show, so I'm going to assume that was the last one.Were you not allowed to change seats so Amani could try?
Marcus: We could have changed seats and I thought about it, but I think, being stubborn, I wanted to finish it. We would've had to go through the process all over again. She would have to take a few practice runs and I was so confident that I could get it done that I thought it would take more time to switch roles.Amani, you are the probably the most patient racer ever. How did you stay so calm during that and the whole Race?
Amani: [Laughs] It's who I am, I guess. I didn't realize I was so patient until we watched the show, but everybody keeps telling me that. But that's what I'm like every day. I guess that's why my blood pressure rate is so good every time I go to the doctor. But this is life, so have fun! It's over in a blink of an eye, so just enjoy every moment. That's just how I live life. I tried to rub that off on Marcus. I understand that that had to have been very frustrating for him and what good would it do if we were both frustrated? You're not going to get anything accomplished.Did you think you were last when you were still doing it or did you think the other teams were having as much trouble as you were?
Amani: I think we were fairly confident we were pretty close to last because it took us a while to get it done. And when we left the building, there was only one taxi there, so that confirmed it.Jeremy and Sandy you were at the end?
Amani: We saw Jeremy and Sandy at the map, so I don't feel like we were that far behind them, but we don't really know in terms of time.You made up a lot of time then.
Amani: I think The Dump helped us. ... If we had to drive in Atlanta, I think that would've been an advantage because Marcus can navigate the expressways here, but the thing about The Dump clue was that I knew the store Jeremy and Sandy went to because we've shopped there. When we Googled it, we knew that wasn't the place and it had to be the Margaret Mitchell House, so that saved us some time. I think they wasted a good hour getting to The Dump, running around it and coming back. Marcus did the Margaret Mitchell challenge and even though he claims he's a pecker [at typing] — which he is — he's never stepped down from a challenge or stepped back. That's probably also why we didn't switch in the simulator. Once we start something, we're not quitters and he wanted to attack that fear of flying. I wanted him to have that and support him. Life goes on beyond the Race. We've got to go home. This is our real relationship. Some people after the Race can go away from each other, but we can't!Did you complete the map task easily?
Amani: Yes. Well, I don't want to say pretty easily. We're not the best at geography, but Marcus knocked it out. I rigged up first to do it, but because it required upper-body strength, Marcus thought that — not that I couldn't get it done — but he could get it done faster. It didn't go as quick as Ernie and Cindy did it, but of course, they're A students, so they know geography! They knocked that out, but being the C students we are, we took a bit, but hey. I'm kidding, I'm kidding! [Laughs]They say they don't remember making that comment. What did you think of it?
Amani: A lot of people say things in the heat of the moment. Marcus and I always try to see the silver lining in everything, and maybe we're not A students. That's very probable, but it's not always the A students who run the world and who are making the executive decisions. There are C students who are doing some great things in the world, so you don't have to be an A student to do great things. There are probably a lot more B and C students than there are A students. C students of the world unite! [Laughs] Anybody below A, hey, it's OK! Join in with us!Marcus: We didn't do too bad for C students!You guys made so many comebacks. Did you think you could pull off one more?
Marcus: We always wanted to keep racing and keep fighting. You never know what could happen. A taxi could break down. That happened to us already. You can get lost like Jeremy and Sandy did. ... It was still anybody's game until we saw Phil. ... We dug a hole, but we've dug holes before and climbed out of them. We didn't think this was going to be any different, so we always thought we could do it.Marcus, I don't think I've ever seen anyone have more fun with a bunny than you did.
Marcus: [Laughs] I really enjoyed that task! Amani said on the show that we picked tasks so our kids could see us doing it, and our oldest, Miles, loves bunnies. So we thought that would be a great challenge for us. Turning the butter would be too tough. I had a great time putting the steeplechase together, hopping the bunny. I remember telling the bunny, "Hey, bunny, I've had a frustrating morning, so I need you to jump over the steeples real fast." And that's what it did. I had a good time with those bunnies.
Amani: It's on our kids' Christmas list. That's the No. 1 thing.Is Santa going to get them a bunny?
Amani: I don't know. He better bring one down the chimney with him! [Laughs]Marcus: It would be fun if we could get that bunny and train it to jump over steeples, but the bunny we'd get would just sit around and eat all day.There's nothing wrong with that. Do you really make that many football references in real life, Marcus, or was that a show edit?
Amani: Oh, that was totally an edit. He never talks football in real life.Marcus: I got asked questions to describe stuff on the Race and I just related it to football. But I don't talk like that every day. I don't even watch any pro football games! I watch more college games. So it was something they wanted to run with.What are you up to now?
Marcus: We're going to head home, regroup and hang out with our kids, teach them basketball, football. We'll continue to run our store Maize 'N Grace. ... We've been asked [by fans] if we'd come back for an All-Stars season. We have no idea if we would qualify! I don't know what would make us All-Stars, but if the opportunity came along, we'd approach it then.