It became a battle of the brothers at the end of The Amazing Race 16, with the Rhode Island-bred Daniel, 25, and Jordan Pious, 23, edging out cowboys Jet and Cord for the $1 million — without any advantage from cutting in line at the airport. "We were in the same exact plane at the same exact time, all middle seats in three consecutive rows. Caite and Brent, who were first to get tickets, were in the row furthest from the front," Dan tells TVGuide.com. "If people want to be up-in-arms about cutting, I can understand that, but don't think that it affected the Race. ... And Cord did a good job of getting revenge and distracting me at the virtual challenge, so I guess we're even." It was, rather, the move up to first class that ensured the Piouses a lead that they never relinquished. So how did they smooth-talk their way up front?
TVGuide.com: What was your tactic behind cutting the cowboys?
Jordan: We had not done one single thing on the entire Race to piss off another team. We were not that team. But fans have to understand that it's the final leg. You have a one in three chance of winning $1 million. At the end of the day, it's a game, so you have to make moves. That move didn't make a difference and we kind of knew that. I was just hanging out with Caite, so that was where I was in line. But it kind of riled us up and got us excited to put the pedal to the metal in the final leg.
TVGuide.com: The game-changer was when you, Dan, coaxed the flight attendant to move you to first class. What did you say to her?
Dan: Aw, man! What I said is a little X-rated. [Laughs] No, I'm joking! She was a really sweet girl and we hit it off. Personalities clicked and the wedding's next week! No, no. She was really enthralled by the cameras and was willing to help us out, and it made all the difference in the world. That put us ahead. We cut it close [the last two legs] — certainly not as close as it looked, but it was close. We were lucky to be able to survive, and that was our strategy the whole race: just survive. It doesn't matter what place we're in, just don't be last, and then on the last leg, get first.
TVGuide.com: Did it really take you that long to find a cab after the memory task?
Dan: It was literally three minutes, but they made it seem a lot longer. We knew we had a solid lead. We ended up beating the cowboys by about 25 minutes. They weren't even close to the memory challenge when we left. ... We told the cab driver, "We'll give you $100. Just get us to Candlestick Park." I think the rate was $20, and he's like, "Wait, are you really going to give me $100?" I said, "I gave you my word." At that point, we had, like, $400 saved up.
Jordan: We're also very stingy! I wouldn't let Daniel, like, eat. You never know when you need your cash, so I wanted to make sure we had enough to handle whatever came our way. But you can kind of tell that we were not too stressed. At one point, I'm like, "Daniel, this is it!" It was an exciting moment, not because I was panicking. They showed every single second of the three minutes that we looked for a cab.
TVGuide.com: The cowboys caught up to you at almost every task. Were you worried about them overtaking your lead?
Dan: We're always worried about them, but even though they caught up physically, at Coit Tower, there was a mandatory 15-minute wait. You had to go over safety and get harnessed, so I was about 80 percent done with my ascension as they were arriving, so they had to wait 15 minutes. At the virtual tour, we were getting our final clue [at the second goal] and they were just starting the first goal. While they were physically next to us, we were always still ahead.
TVGuide.com: Jordan, this was your dream. What was going through your mind when you realized you won?
Jordan: From watching the show for 15 seasons, I knew when I came out of that helmet, you look at Phil and ask "Are there any teams next to him?" The answer was no, then it's like "Holy crap! You're the Amazing Race 16 winners and you just won $1 million." Between the end of that helmet and probably the 20-yard line, I blacked out and don't remember anything. I was living my dream and trying to enjoy it, but was so overwhelmed by emotion and excitement. ... I was literally having an out-of-body experience.
TVGuide.com: Dan, some fans think you weren't into the Race because you did it for Jordan and hate traveling. What have you gotten out of it besides $1 million?
Dan: My brother's dream is achieved, and I saw things in the world that I've never seen. When we were leaving the Seychelles at night ... we saw the Milky Way galaxy. You see shooting stars every four-to-five minutes. It was the most beautiful thing ever. ... I certainly did my share of complaining on the Race, but when there was a challenge, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone more focused on getting the job done. ... It was a great opportunity to be on The Amazing Race. I've never said otherwise. I'll admit I wasn't a gigantic fan going into it, but I think the die-hard fans will be glad to know that there is one more die-hard fan in myself now that I've done it.
Jordan: People are questioning whether Daniel was really invested in this. There is a reason I chose him. I knew he was going to take this Race seriously and do everything he could to win and to make my dream come true in every way. He is the most competitive person I know. If that [last] cab ride isn't an indication of how committed he is, then quite frankly, I don't know what is.
TVGuide.com: In the online extras, there are videos that reference Joe making negative comments to Jordan.
Jordan: Joe made some negative comments toward me, but I've got to be honest, Joe made some nasty comments to a lot of teams. He's a very abrasive and confrontational individual who would find any excuse to almost put somebody down. At the airport in Argentina ... I was having a really rough day. I was emotional and crying — I mean, gosh, I'm sure we saw that a couple of times! Joe comes up to me and goes, "You done crying?" He just has a way with words and really puts his nose where it doesn't belong.
Dan: He had a problem with Jordan, he had a problem with Mike and Louie, he had a problem with Jeff. I don't know if you've seen the Elimination Station videos ... but it's like The Joe Show. He called his wife — who is a gorgeous, smart, amazing woman — a "PTA mom." He did it twice! He actually called his wife that, which is the most absurd thing.
TVGuide.com: What are you going to do with the $1 million?
Dan: We're going to give some to Uncle Sam and we'll put the rest in the bank and save it, invest it.
TVGuide.com: And you're not going to ride your motorcycles?
Dan: [Laughs] There's no chance! We were not lying about that. We will never, never — I'll get on it once and snap a picture, but that's it. If you know anyone who's in the market for a motorbike, we have two for sale.
TVGuide.com: After your champagne glass-stacking prowess in France, has anyone contacted you for bar or bat mitzvahs?
Jordan: [Laughs] I think every Jewish person that we know in this world told us that they were laughing their asses off when we referenced that.
Dan: We've had no calls. I think Jordan's comment about us being very expensive may have turned some people away.
Jordan: You said "expensive" and I said, "very expensive."
Dan: OK, I'm forgetting. But we've had no requests at this point, but if you know anyone, send them our way!