What if Your Search Engine Was Replaced By the NFL Referees?

September 26, 2012 8:39 am

People haven’t stopped talking about the botched calls and the bogus flags thrown by the replacement referees who have taken over the NFL this season.
Players have Tweeted about them, comedians have lashed out, fans have gone wild over them— legislators are even trying to ban them.
Now, one former Massachusetts resident that is fed up with the mayhem during the games has taken to the internet to mock what’s happening on the field with a snarky new website.
On “ReplacementGoogle.com,” visitors are asked to type in a search request as they would with the normal Google search engine, but the results may vary—much like the calls made on the field during recent NFL games.
“Google.com is now sponsored by the NFL,” jokes Erik Johnson, who produced the mock-site.
Johnson, a Massachusetts native, said he spawned the site during his lunch break Tuesday amidst all the online chatter surrounding the referee controversy.
Replacement Google looks identical to Google.com, but has an NFL logo floating at the bottom.
The premise is, no matter what you try and “Google,” you won’t get the right result.
When BostInno typed in “NFL” in the search bar, results came back as scatter-brained as the faux-refs running up and down the field. We got a chance to reach out to the former-Massachusetts resident and talk to him about his comedic website, which immediately got thousands of hits when it went up Tuesday afternoon.
Obviously we know what made you come up with the idea, but do you mind elaborating a little bit?
The idea popped into my head when I was thinking about (and was frustrated by) the NFL Replacement Ref issue. After last Sunday’s Pats game, I thought to myself, “What if other things we’d come to rely on no longer worked properly?” Traffic signals, etc. And Google is one of those things.
How long did it take you to put the site together? When did it launch?
I work close by to where I live, so I put the site together when I went home for my lunch break today (Tuesday). It took me about an hour to put together, including registering the domain name and setting up hosting.
What sort of message are you hoping it sends about the state of the current NFL season?
It’s a shame that what is only a few measly dollars to the NFL is ruining what has always been a great experience for so many people.
What has the response been so far from people?
The response has been awesome—overwhelmingly positive. Last I checked it had over 1,300 tweets, and there has been some good blog chatter about it, too.
Any plans to expand on it?
Not right now. I’m continuing work on an online travel startup. But other than that, I just want to make new things that delight people.

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