With the entire internet up in arms over the NFL's replacement referees, who have now made it through the first three weeks of the season while the official referees continue to hold out over disagreements over their pay and pension, the internet's sprung into action with its typical parody reaction.
The referees, most of whom were found refereeing Division II college football games and the like, have been the target of criticism for close and missed calls since the season opened. It all culminated in the deciding call on a hail mary pass to end last night's Monday Night Football game between the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers.
The internet has responded the way it usually does to these issues. We've seen the standard Twitter accounts making terrible jokes and, of course, over-used memes. It hasn't been much different than Clint Eastwood's empty-chair fiasco, which, oddly, one digital marketing executive was smart enough to jump on for his own professional benefit.
But even in internet mockery, there's room for innovation, and "Replacement Google" is exactly that.
With a tagline that jokes "Google is now sponsored by the NFL," replacement Google looks pretty similar to regular Google, the same way replacement referees look the same as regular referees. The results, in both cases, are laughably different. A search for "New York Giants," for example, brought up results for "movies without Shaquille O'Neal in them," as if anyone would want to watch those.
It's the work of web developer Erik August Johnson, who was brave (and smart) enough to link to his own website while simultaneously using the Google and NFL logos on a parody site. It hasn't gone unnoticed, either. At time of publication, the home page's Twitter widget showed nearly 1,200 Tweets. It's also showing up on the actual Google's first-page search engine results, albeit five links down from the top, where Google News headlines continue to report on "Apple's replacement of Google Maps."