Frustration over the NFL’s not-ready-for-primetime replacement referees has inspired web designer Erik Johnson to present Google as if its search engine had replacement engineers at the controls. The result is a web page that looks a lot like the standard Google Search page — with a note that it is sponsored by the NFL.
Entering text in the Replacement Google search field yields real Google results. But they have nothing to do with your search terms, unless by some miracle of fate you were hoping to learn more about “Movies with Shaq in them,” answer the question “Does Canada have Sonic restaurants?” — or simply read about “Turtles.”
It seems that some of those “replacement searches” sometimes brought server error messages, as word spread about Johnson’s spoof site. So be patient if you hit a roadblock.
In actual NFL news, spokesman Greg Aiello deflated rumors that the NFL and the referees’ union were close to a deal, saying that he would not call such a conclusion “imminent” — “but talks are proceeding.”