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Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Ravens-Patriots living on in social media

By Bill Speros
Special to ESPN.com

The AFC Championship Game ended Sunday with Baltimore's 28-13 victory over New England. But the action has continued across social and digital media -- including billboards.

Last week, Clear Channel Outdoor in Boston posted a digital billboard counting down to "Ray's Retirement Party" that coincided with Sunday's kickoff.

4 HOURS #GoPats twitter.com/MassBillboards…

— CCO_Boston (@MassBillboards) January 20, 2013

Someone in New England wasted a lot of money on that Ray Lewis retirement billboard

— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) January 21, 2013
Lewis said the billboard hurt his feelings after Sunday's victory, and the company acknowledged the Ravens' win with this update:

Welp. twitter.com/MassBillboards…

— CCO_Boston (@MassBillboards) January 21, 2013


The response from the Clear Channel Outdoor Washington/Baltimore office to Baltimore's victory was swift and went up immediately after Sunday's game on a digital billboard outside the Ravens' stadium in Baltimore and elsewhere across the city with the words: “Ray’s Retirement Party Moved to Feb. 3 (New England Not Invited).” The branch also posted an image of the message on its Facebook page with the caption: "Well done boys."

Rays Retirement
Clear Channel Outdoor Washington/Baltimore office shows its support of the home team.
Brian Decker, digital media manager of Clear Channel Outdoor's Washington/Baltimore office, said his company had posted "Bring it on New England" on its 19 digital billboards in Baltimore immediately after the Patriots beat the Texans on Jan. 13.

Decker's group posted a "The Clock Is Tickin' New England!" message on its billboards the next day and promoted the billboards on their Facebook page.

"We had no idea that Boston was going to run a 'Ray's retirement' countdown clock. They did something brilliant. We racked our brains and tried to figure out a response. It had to be creative, clever and classy -- but none of our ideas fit all three of those requirements. We didn't have a retort back," Decker said. So his team just waited for after the game. "We had our 'Ray's retirement party postponed' billboard up right after the fourth quarter Sunday. We haven't heard from our San Francisco office yet."

Thanks to Twitter, players don't need a billboard to express their feelings. Baltimore safety Bernard Pollard had knocked the ball from running back Stevan Ridley in the fourth quarter Sunday with a helmet-to-helmet hit, forcing Ridley out of the game with a head injury. He kept knocking away on Twitter:

Patriot fans take a chill pill. Please leave US (Fans, Cheerleaders, Coaches and Players) alone! Let us enjoy OUR time. Please & Thank You

— Bernard Pollard Jr (@Crushboy31) January 21, 2013


Pollard has a long history with the Patriots. He ended Tom Brady's 2008 season with a hit to his knee in Kansas City. Wes Welker's knee buckled and he tore his ACL in January of 2010 while trying to elude a tackle from Pollard, who was with the Texans. In last year's AFC title game, Pollard dragged down Rob Gronkowski with an ankle tackle, causing an injury that limited Gronkowski's play in the Super Bowl. Earlier in Sunday's game, Pollard took a 15-yard penalty after a helmet-to-helmet hit on Welker.

Baltimore's Terrell Suggs also kept up his assault on New England via Twitter Monday:

patriot fans are MAD!twitter.com/sportguyfnn/st…

— terrell suggs (@untouchablejay4) January 21, 2013

it's funny how every patriot fan, is a 49ers fan now. Did they forget that the 9ers beat them too?!?!?!

— terrell suggs (@untouchablejay4) January 21, 2013


Probably not.

For some players, real life has played out better than Hollywood could have ever imagined:

Wow it just hit me that I'm going to be playing in the Super Bowl!!! Dreams do come true!!!

— Michael Oher (@MichaelOher) January 21, 2013


Meanwhile, Ray Rice gets a birthday wish Tuesday. Wonder what it could be:

Thank you lord for allowing me to see my 26th birthday #blessed

— Ray Rice (@RayRice27) January 22, 2013
Bill Speros is an ESPN.COM contributor. He can be reached on Twitter @billsperos or via email at bsperos1@gmail.com.