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Sidelined: Overcoming Odds through Unity, Passion, and Perseverance Hardcover – June 24, 2014

4.8 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Chuck Pagano’s story is an inspiration to anyone looking for personal direction or a higher calling for themselves. As a son, brother, father, husband, leader, and coach, Chuck has a unique way of inspiring and bringing out the best in those around him. This is a story of inspiration and perseverance that will galvanize your spirit and warm your soul. -- Terry Heffner, , Boise State University wide receiver, 1986-1990

Few men, if any, have inspired others within the NFL in recent years in the way Coach Pagano did. His 2012 Indianapolis Colts not only changed that franchise, but galvanized the entire league and those around it. We all became CHUCKSTRONG to one degree or another, and those postgame moments in the locker room when Coach Pagano spoke of his “circumstances” and his relentless will to coach again and see his daughters get married will always stand out to me as one of the priceless, signature moments of that entire season. Bruce Tollner’s humanity, grace, compassion for others, and knowledge of the game make him uniquely qualified to help tell this story. -- Jason La Canfora, , CBS Sports NFL Insider

Sidelined speaks to everyone looking to move through life with a positive, enthusiastic, and determined attitude. Coach Pagano tells his story of determination and victory and what it takes to be a true leader by demonstrating unmatched courage and dignity. -- Bill Rancic, , entrepreneur

For broadcast journalists, objectivity is vital. Every once in a while, though, objectivity, schmobjectivity. When Coach Pagano took up the fight in the courageous, energetic, positive manner in which he did, we all became Colts fans. His fight inspires me in my fight. Love having him for a teammate. -- Stuart Scott, , ESPN anchor and cancer battler

Chuck Pagano’s story of recovery from leukemia is one that captured the nation in more ways than anyone could have imagined. His spirit and family values are to be admired. He’s a true role model for fathers everywhere. -- Adam Caplan, , ESPN NFL Insider

Chuck Pagano preaches family, and now he takes you inside his family in his touching story. Filled with inspirational tales and motivational messages, like CHUCKSTRONG, Sidelined is some kind of strong book. -- Adam Schefter, , ESPN NFL Insider

With Sidelined, my former coach, Chuck Pagano, moves the spirit like a great offense moving the chains. Coach is openly honest and relatable as he shares his battle with cancer and his craft of coaching in the NFL. Sidelined provides an introspective and unique avenue to get a front-row seat to faith, family, and football. Impactful! -- Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, , former NFL defensive lineman, current NFL Network analyst

It’s been said a team will take on the personality of its coach. I’ve never seen a better example of a coach displaying mental and physical toughness, resiliency, optimism, and true grit through adversity than Chuck Pagano has shown to his Indianapolis Colts. His team has responded tremendously. -- Steve Mariucci, , former NFL head coach and current NFL Network analyst

Having a small hand in the winning was rewarding; having a small hand in the healing is priceless. -- Bruce Arians, , head coach of the Arizona Cardinals

Chuck is both a leader and great teammate at the same time. He lifts those around him to higher levels, and the world got to see that as he courageously battled leukemia. We can all learn from the way Chuck lives his life and leads his team. -- John Harbaugh, , head coach of the Baltimore Ravens

Chuck’s commitment and dedication to his family and his team during his battle with cancer is a true testament to his courage to rise above in times of uncertainty. He showed all of us that victory is achieved well beyond the fields of football. -- John Fox, , head coach of the Denver Broncos

In his own words, Chuck Pagano reveals to readers his personal odyssey into and through the fight of his life. It was a story that not only dominated the NFL landscape but captivated the sports world as well. Only now do we learn the true details of the fight from Pagano’s perspective. With unflinching candor and humility, Pagano inspires with his reliance on the three tenets of his life---faith, family, and football. -- Sam Farmer, , Los Angeles Times NFL columnist

Coaches are too often measured by wins and losses. The coaches who truly make an impact are those who do far more than just lead their teams to victories. They are concerned more about the person than the player. They inspire, motivate, and challenge their players to be the best they can be---on and off the field. Chuck Pagano is certainly that coach. His greatest victory is the positive impact he has made in the lives of his players. In Sidelined, Chuck shares his powerful story of not only battling cancer but beating it as well. Chuck is an inspiration and a true example of being a great coach and an even better person. -- Mark Brunell, , nineteen-year NFL quarterback, three-time Pro Bowl selection, ESPN analyst

Chuck Pagano epitomizes the best we all hope to learn from sports the day we sign up as kids. In a sport where the goal is to be tougher than the guy across from you, Chuck Pagano showed he was the toughest guy in any locker room in this league. Cancer definitely picked the wrong coach to pick a fight with. He’s one of the rare guys in the league who left me feeling motivated every day I thought of him. -- Jay Glazer, , senior writer for FoxSports.com and NFL Insider for NFL on Fox

Never in my thirty years covering the NFL have I seen the outpouring of feeling for one person as I did when Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia. Amazing thing is, so few people knew the man when it happened. Now, thankfully, you'll get to know Chuck Pagano and the fight he fought, and you'll be enriched because of his story. -- Peter King, , senior writer for Sports Illustrated

Throughout my many years of playing in the NFL and during my time at ESPN, I’ve have the privilege of hearing some of the most amazing stories in sports. Chuck Pagano’s journey of overcoming is one of the greatest out there. His sheer tenacity and drive are inspiring. This is a must-read. -- Ron Jaworski, , sixteen-year NFL quarteback and current ESPN analyst

I’m not sure I have ever been around someone who has such a contagious combination of fight and kindness. Chuck Pagano shares priceless lessons on how family, love, trust, and loyalty are critical components for facing life’s greatest challenges. As a mother, wife, daughter, and former athlete, I found that Sidelined touched every part of who I am. Chuck gives us hope that cancer will be cured and we can win, inspiring us to put hope into action. -- Heather Cox, , sports broadcaster

I followed Coach Pagano’s story from the day it was announced he was battling cancer. But, his story took on a whole new meaning for me once I was able to sit down and interview him. Coach Pagano is a fighter---on and off the field. Following our interview, I kept repeating the same thing: It’s impossible not to play hard when you are coached by a man like that. He truly inspires everyone he touches to fight as hard as he did. -- Erin Andrews, , sports broadcaster, journalist, and host on Fox College Football

Some people you work with, and some people you play with. Some people you are supposed to be with for a certain period of your life. Chuck is one of these for me. He is the total package. Chuck stands at all times for integrity and loyalty. I watched him go through extreme adversity, and he never once changed. I love this man and am honored to call him a friend. It is time for his testimony to be told. You will forever be changed. -- Ray Lewis, , ten-time All-Pro linebacker, MVP of Super Bowl XXXV, ESPN analyst

This would be a great read if it was just a thrill-packed, firsthand account of one the most dramatic football seasons of the past decade. It would be a great read if it was just an intimate, honest look at what it feels like to be locked inside a hospital room, literally fighting for your life. But this book manages, amazingly, to be both. You’ll marvel at Chuck’s grace and wit as he describes how he, his family, his doctors, and his team managed to beat both cancer and much of the NFL in one fell swoop. People have often asked me what it was like to be on the sidelines for many of the Colts’ magic moments during the 2012 season. I typically reply, “You just had to be there.” Now … you can. -- Rachel Nichols, , TNT sideline reporter and CNN host

The CHUCKSTRONG movement that emerged less than a year after Chuck Pagano was named head coach of the Indianapolis Colts is indicative of the positive impact he has on others. Having played in the NFL myself, I can appreciate the strong bond between players and their coach. Chuck is a perfect example of a coach who cares for his team and brings out the best in others. -- Mark Schlereth, , twelve-year NFL offensive lineman, two-time Pro Bowl selection, ESPN analyst

I couldn’t put this book down. Between the lines of Coach Pagano’s stirring account of his struggle to overcome leukemia during the Colts’ remarkable 2012 season is a humble yet compelling message that extends far beyond football and into the faith and perseverance it takes to win in life. -- Admiral James A. Winnefeld Jr., , U.S. Navy

As a young graduate assistant at the University of Southern California, Chuck had a mind-set of, “I can do it; I will make it in the coaching profession.” This story is a great example of what faith and a positive attitude can accomplish. -- Ted Tollner, , veteran NFL and college head coach

I’ll never forget the day we announced Chuck’s hire, and he addressed the full Colts staff in our pavilion. With almost no time for preparation, he went into full “coach mode” and, within a few minutes, had every person in the room, men and women alike, ready to strap on the pads and go out to kick butt for Chuck Pagano. But what took place when I visited him in the hospital reflects his true character more than anything. The first thing he wanted to know was how my family and I were doing. The man was in the fight of his life, and he refused to elevate his illness over his genuine caring for others. Astonishing and truly inspiring stuff! -- Daniel C. Emerson, , vice president and general counsel of the Indianapolis Colts

About the Author

Tony Dungy and his wife Lauren Dungy are active members of a number of family, faith, and community-based organizations, including All Pro Dad, iMom, Fellowship of Chrstian Athletes, Mentors for Life, Family First, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, and the Boys and Girls Club of America. Tony is a former NFL player and retired head coach of the 2006 Superbowl Champions, the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (June 24, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310341035
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310341031
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #178,896 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by BookLook/Zondervan Press in exchange for an honest review.]

Although I am a Steeler’s fan, this particular sports memoir from Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano (with some help from an articulate agent who styles himself esquire, as I did when I was a teenager) is a moving and inspiring account of how faith and the support and encouragement of friends and family and coworkers helped the author overcome a diagnosis of leukemia during his debut season as a head coach in 2012. Although this particular book will be most enjoyable for those who are both profound sports fans as well as thoughtful believers in scripture (as this book has lots of talk about sports and the mysterious ways of the Eternal), it is written in a clear and easy-to-read style that should not be too difficult for a wide and appreciative audience.

In many ways, this particular book is very similar to a book in my stepfather’s collection called Lost Sundays, about the Pittsburgh Steelers. Both books share a general organization of looking at a season week by week, heavy on reportage and a narrative of drama about the progress of the game and big plays on both sides. Both books even share at least one notable person, Tony Dungy, who was an assistant coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers during the season chronicled in Lost Sundays and wrote the forward for Sidelined. Some major differences include the fact that this particular novel includes a lot about faith (which was only a minor concern in Lost Sundays) and that this book is ultimately hopeful and encouraging while the other book was far more gloomy and depressing (especially for a Steelers fan like myself).
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Even if you're not a football fan, you can't help but be touched by the story of one man's fight with cancer. Chuck Pagano was at the top of his career, having just been hired as the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, when he discovered worrisome bruises. Just a few weeks into the season, he was placed in the hospital and was fighting for his life.

If you know anyone who has cancer, give them this book. It is uplifting, encouraging, and shows them that they're not alone in their struggle.
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Whether or not you are a football fan or even an Indianapolis Colts fan, you will find Chuck Pagano's book "Sidelined" very inspirational. For Colts lovers (which I am) the book is filled with lots of behind-the-scenes details about the integrity, love, and family mentality of the Indianapolis Colts organization. This aspect of Chuck's book made me even more proud to be a Colts fan!
But "Sidelined" is much more than a book about football. Chuck's personal testimony of how his faith in Christ and love of family and friends throughout his life and death battle with leukemia is truly inspiring. This was one of those books I just couldn't put
down. I finished reading it in three evenings. I would highly recommend "Sidelined!"
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How could you not like this book? It was written by a cancer survivor! Even with all of the football clichés, the book was an interesting read. However after reading it, I felt empty. I knew no more about Chuck Pagan than I did before I read the book. I knew more about the Indianapolis Colts, their opponents, and their schedule, but where is Coach Pagan, the cancer patient? What went through his mind as he fought for his life? What were the high points of his fight with cancer? The low points of his fight with cancer? How did he deal with cancer, outside of football? The reader really never finds out. Empty. One thumb up.
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This is a great story well told. This is a good read, I finished the book in one sitting. Chuck is open about all aspects of his life, not just his battle with cancer. It is easy to get behind Chuck and want him to succeed not just in his battle with cancer, but also as a husband, parent and coach. This is not a sports story! This is the story of a man and a year plus of his life's journey. Sports fans and non-sports fans will find this a compelling, inspirational story.
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Format: Hardcover
Sidelined: Overcoming Odds through Unity, Passion, and Perseverance by Chuck Pagano with Bruce Tollner

Only three games into his rookie season as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia. This book chronicles that way that Coach Pagano did not allow this diagnosis, treatment, and months of recovery to keep him on the sidelines.

As a Colts fan, it was amazing to see how the team, not just the players, but the owners, the office staff, and the cheerleaders rallied around him and created the #chuckstrong movement. Coach Pagano continued to motivate and coach his players via phone calls, texts, and other means and ultimately helped to lead the team to a winning season in spite of the trauma from this dramatic situation.

As a Christian, it was great to see and read how Coach's faith remained strong and ultimately propelled him to victory over the diagnosis that sought to end his life. He used the platform that he was given as an NFL coach to glorify God through his actions.

This is a great read for anyone who loves football, coaching, or a great story of faith overcoming fear.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
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