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There Is A Competition To Avoid Learning Who Won The Super Bowl, For Some Reason

Feb 10, 2018
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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Spoiler alert for our next story - (laughter) we're going to tell you who won the Super Bowl. Yes, the game happened last week, but there's an important warning for the eight people still in the running in a contest called Last Man. Competition's pretty straightforward but a near impossible goal - go as long as you can without finding out who won the Super Bowl. NPR's Scott Detrow explains.

SCOTT DETROW, BYLINE: The hardest part of the Last Man competition is probably the first couple hours. That's when news notifications and text messages ping cell phones. The news is blanketed by the results, and the Super Bowl is all everyone on social media is talking about. Jeb Adams of Agoura Hill, Calif., washed out early in 2016 and 2017. This year, he prepared.

JEB ADAMS: I turned off all my news notifications on my phones and iPads. I warned everyone on Facebook and Twitter that I was going to disappear for a while.

DETROW: Social media is dangerous, but so are co-workers. Jamie Baskin from Kansas City says she was lingering outside a break room, waiting for a colleague to turn off ESPN when her boss asked what she was doing.

JAMIE BASKIN: No. I'm just - I can't go in the break room. And she just, like, gave me the weirdest look and was like, why? And I'm like, because I'm going to find out who won the Super Bowl. And she just kind of was like, OK, and walked into her office. And so I'm pretty sure she thinks I'm, like, very weird.

DETROW: About 1 to 200 people play every year. And, no, there's no prize - really. They just seem to like the challenge. People post their status on Twitter and, once they're eliminated, what ultimately killed their chances. Last Man deaths are a gauntlet of the modern information age. Death by Twitter, by seemingly unrelated news articles. One player was knocked out by a message that popped up on an ATM screen. Michael Griener organizes the event and keeps a detailed spreadsheet of how people were knocked out.

MICHAEL GRIENER: We've had people who found out by drunk college kids running past their dorm room window.

DETROW: I hate to say that NPR is a regular killer, too. For both Baskin and Adams, the end came Thursday afternoon, when, a little too confidently, they ventured back on to social media. Adams was betrayed by Twitter's trending topics - Baskin, Instagram.

BASKIN: And the first picture I saw when I opened the app was a friend of mine who lives in Philadelphia at the parade. And I was like, welp.

DETROW: So how'd she feel about the Eagles' win?

BASKIN: I'm pretty sad that of all the years I picked to not pay attention to it, it ends up being what my dad said the best game that he's ever seen other than the year that the Chiefs won.

DETROW: As of Friday afternoon, there were eight confirmed people who still don't know. Scott Detrow, NPR News.

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