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Bill Belichick Illustrates The Kubler-Ross Model Of Grieving: A Photo Essay

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"I just threw up in my mouth a little bit"

For those of you who have ever taken a freshman psychology course in college, you are undoubtedly familiar with something called the Kübler-Ross model. Laid out by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in 1969 in her groundbreaking book, On Death and Dying, the theory details how people deal with grief by segmenting the process into five distinct stages.

Given the putrid performance of the New England Patriots yesterday in their 33-14 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, many are speculating that the Patriots’ remarkable run over the past decade when they won three Super Bowls (2001, 2003 and 2004) and remained remarkably competitive every season may in fact be over. We may have just witnessed the final death throes of the Patriots Dynasty, and whether your dislike for the Pats ranges from mild dislike to rabid hatred – because does anyone really like the Patriots other than their fans? – the outcome should at the very least come as a welcome development. The smug nature in which the Patriots went about their business over the past decade was unpleasant at best.

And no one personified that arrogance, the holier than thou attitude and the apparent lack of respect for their opponents (both on and off the field) that the Patriots demonstrated over the years more so than Bill Belichick, which made it a delight to watch Belichick’s demeanor throughout the game yesterday. He had all the appearances of a man that despite being cognizant of what was occurring around him was powerless to do anything about it. Belichick was witnessing first-hand the crumbling of his once-great empire and could be seen visibly grieving for his loss.

Which brings us to the Kübler-Ross model. As you can plainly see by the below photos, Belichick managed to get through all five stages in the span of four quarters of football.

Stage One: Denial

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“This cannot be happening. There has to be something on this piece of paper that can help turn the tide. Where in the hell are the ‘Plays to Run When We are Down 24-0’ section?’Dammit. This is not fair.”

Stage 2: Anger

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“Goddammit, you piece of shit players! Brady! Yeah, I’m talking to you! I’m sick and tired of coddling your ass. You have gotten all soft after marrying Jismelle or whatever-her-name is. And this defense – you are tarnishing my legacy. Year after year, I insert unknowns into my system and watch them excel. That way, people will bask in my genius. You’re ruining it!”

Stage 3: Bargaining

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“C’mon, guys. Just make this a game, would you? We can’t let our asses get handed to us like this. I’ll tell you what, if you can somehow pull this game out, I’ll take you all out for milkshakes after the game. That’s right – you will see a new-and-improved Coach Belichick – but you have to win. If you do, no more heartlessness. No more lack of compassion. No more just staring at you with utter contempt at anything less than perfection. I have learned I have the power to change.”

Stage 4: Depression

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“This sucks. I’m a terrible coach. Maybe it wasn’t me all along. Maybe I just got lucky and had great players and caught lightning in  a bottle. Maybe it wasn’t my genius that ushered in this great age after all. I mean, going for it on 4th and 1 against the Colts earlier this season? What sort of moron does something like that? A stupid moron, that’s who. And look at me. What a goddamn slob. Could I be anymore frumpy? I’m an NFL coach, for God’s sake! Why didn’t anyone pull me aside and tell me I dress like a hobo? What a friggin’ loser. I shouldn’t even be alive.”

Stage 5: Acceptance

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“Well, I guess what’s done is done. And you know what? This isn’t so bad. What’s wrong with congratulating an opponent on a job well done? They were simply the better team today. It’s not like losing a playoff game is the end of the world. We can be back. Time to start planning. Scheming. I am a genius. I am the greatest. I am Bill Belichick. Screw you, Harbaugh. Ya douchebag.”

Fin.

(Photos via Yahoo!)

Rice leads Ravens run game to 33-14 win over Pats [Yahoo!/AP]