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Poking fun at the NFL, developer builds Replacement Google site

September 26, 2012|By Salvador Rodriguez
  • Replacement Google, a joke site, recently went live to poke fun at the NFL.
Replacement Google, a joke site, recently went live to poke fun at the NFL. ( )

Thanks to the NFL's ongoing labor dispute and its use of replacement referees, officiating has been horrible, so it was only a matter of time before fans' frustrations vented in unique ways on the Web, the latest being its own version of life with substitutes: the Replacement Google.

The site jokingly claims to be sponsored by the NFL, and just as critics say of the league's replacement officials, it does a poor job imitating what the real Google can do.

Search "LA Times Tech Now" and you might get the results for "Highest altitude in Wichita." Hit "I'm Feeling Lucky" and the site could show you the results for "TV shows that debuted in 1983."

The site was created by Erik Johnson, a 28-year-old Web developer and die-hard New England Patriots fan.

He said he began to feel compelled to do something about the poor officiating following his team's loss to the Baltimore Ravens Sunday night.

The NFL has locked out its officials because the two sides have been unable to agree on a new collective bargaining agreement.

Johnson said he finally decided to take action after Monday night's game between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks, which was also affected by the replacement refs' officiating.

On Tuesday, during his lunch break, Johnson made the site, and since then it's received more than 100,000 unique visitors.

Johnson said the idea came when he thought about what would happen if things people rely on didn't work the way they should.

"What if traffic lights didn't work correctly or what if Google didn't work correctly?" he said. "And I said, "Hey, that's an idea.'"


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