UPDATE (Feb. 25, 4:58 p.m.): Since publication of this post, the Last Man organizers have acknowledged that their database did not include one contestant who was still viable in the competition. She has since been eliminated, but the numbers in this post would be slightly different if the database had been correct at the time of publication.
It’s been more than two weeks since the Super Bowl, and there are still at least 29 people1 who don’t know who won. Those 29 are the recorded survivors of the Last Man challenge, a war-of-attrition, just-for-glory competition to be the last person in the U.S. (or at least in the challenge’s database) unaware of who won Super Bowl 50. (For all of you who still don’t know who won, this post is a safe space.)
Eighty-five percent of participants have already been felled by what competitors call “The Knowledge,”“The Knowledge.”">2 according to the Last Man website. Sixteen percent of all players had, despite their best efforts, learned who won the Super Bowl by midnight on the night of the game (Feb. 7).3 By the end of the next day, more than half of the competitors had lost their blissful ignorance. The more time that passes, the safer the players are; only about a quarter of competitors who made it through the first post-Super Bowl week perished in the second. Now, as you can see in the chart above, the survivor curve is more like a plateau.
But that’s no reason for the survivors to let down their guard. They could still be taken out by the kind of thing that has felled other competitors — phone calls, cupcakes, baby photos, the usual. And it’s not always just the Last Manners who suffer when they lose: One competitor learned the Super Bowl winner via “email from treacherous husband I thought I could trust.” And that husband may find that the guilt of being the spoiler weighs on him for longer than The Knowledge haunts his spouse.