The canonical rules of the game of Last Man, as invented by Kyle Whelliston, are as follows:

Rule 1. The object of the game is to avoid, for as long as possible, learning a) the winner and b) the final score of the Super Bowl.  This data is called The Knowledge.

Rule 2. Don’t flee the country.  Leaving America means immediate disqualification.

Rule 3. Always play honestly.

Rule 4. If you receive information that might constitute The Knowledge, but you aren’t certain (e.g., if someone might be “messing with you” by telling you a false winner or score), you can opt not to believe the uncertain information and keep playing.  However, if it turns out that the uncertain information was correct, the game’s end point is retroactive to when The Knowledge was, in fact, known.

Rule 5. Nobody ever wins.  It’s a game you play against yourself, so it always ends in a loss, eventually.

In addition, here are the “league rules” of the Twitter #Lastman League, adopted by a majority of league members:

Rule A: Anyone in America, male or female, who either (1) is a fan of American sports, and/or (2) would reasonably expect to hear about the Super Bowl (from family, friends, co-workers, media consumption, or otherwise) if they were not consciously trying to avoid such information, is eligible to participate in the Twitter #Lastman League.

Rule B: Contestants who wish to participate in the Twitter #Lastman League must announce on Twitter, using the hashtag #lastman, that they are participating.

Rule C: Last Man begins when the Super Bowl ends.  However, watching any portion of the Super Bowl is, for obvious reasons, not recommended.  In the event of a blowout, The Knowledge may be effectively imparted fairly early in the game. If you “effectively know” who won, you Know. If you strongly suspect who won, you Know (if your suspicion turns out to have been accurate). Bottom line: don’t risk it. Don’t watch any of the Super Bowl.

Rule D: Contestants are strongly encouraged to announce their participation before the Super Bowl.  However, those who belatedly learn about Last Man may join late, up to 24 hours after the conclusion of the Super Bowl, if they have genuinely avoided learning the winner and/or score of the game (a.k.a. “The Knowledge”) up to that point.

NOTE: If you learned The Knowledge, but then forgot what it is (e.g., you don’t remember because you don’t care about the teams), that doesn’t count. To remain “alive” in Last Man, you must never learn The Knowledge in the first place.

Rule E: The Twitter #Lastman League adheres to Rule 5 of Last Man (“Nobody ever wins. It’s a game you play against yourself, so it always ends in a loss, eventually.”). As such, there is no formal title, prize, or “winner” status for the final league contestant to obtain The Knowledge in a given year’s game. However, there is no prohibition on informally acknowledging that person’s accomplishment and “bragging rights” within the league. Also, any contestant who makes it to the kickoff of the next year’s Super Bowl without acquiring The Knowledge from the previous year shall earn a spot in the #Lastman Hall of Fame.

Rule F:  Because Last Man is a game you play against yourself—not against others—contestants should encourage and cheer for each other, rather than rooting against fellow Knowledge Runners in hopes of “winning.” (Remember: nobody ever “wins.”) Contestants who have obtained The Knowledge must never deliberately sabotage other, still-active Knowledge Runners. That said, all contestants should be aware that no platform, medium, or Twitter feed is truly “safe.” Although we strongly discourage non-participating observers from engaging in sabotage, we recognize that there will inevitably be saboteurs. We therefore urge contestants to be vigilant (and we implore saboteurs, if you must engage in sabotage, to at least be sporting and clever about it).

Rule G: Rule 3 of Last Man (“Leaving America means immediate disqualification”) will be strictly applied during the first 30 days after the Super Bowl. Thereafter, contestants may leave America for up to 30 days at a time without being automatically disqualified.  However, if, at any point, a contestant has been out of the country for more than 25% of the total time elapsed since the end of the Super Bowl, that contestant is disqualified.

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