Sidelines and Bloodlines
Sidelines and Bloodlines

Sidelines and Bloodlines

A Father, His Sons, and Our Life in College Football
By Ryan McGee, By Jerry E. McGee, By Sam McGee, Foreword by Rece Davis


288 Pages, 5.5 x 8.5

Formats: Cloth, Mobipocket, EPUB, PDF, Trade Paper

Cloth, $26.95 (CA $35.95) (US $26.95)

ISBN 9781629377872

Rights: WOR

Triumph Books (Sep 2020)


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Football is a game of lines—on and off the gridiron
For ESPN's Ryan McGee, football is a lifelong passion formed from growing up as the son of Dr. Jerry McGee, a man who wore stripes for decades as one of the most highly-decorated officials in college football history. In Sidelines and Bloodlines, Ryan McGee teams up with his father and brother to share lessons learned between the white lines, featuring a cast of characters that runs from no-name small college athletes and coaches to one-name legends such as Holtz, Paterno, Tebow, and Bo. The McGees provide a rare and often hilarious glimpse inside the lives of college officials, detailing how a love for the game convinces accomplished professionals from all walks of life to voluntarily endure ceaseless insults, public criticism, and the expressed goal of doing one's job on a very public stage in a way that will hopefully NOT draw any attention to how that job is done. From hilarious stories of brawling high school referees and making awkward small talk with George Lucas and Darth Vader at the Rose Bowl to the heart-tugging story of young sons in the stands on a Saturday as a stream profanity-laden insults directed at their father drowns out the marching band, Sidelines and Bloodlines delivers laughs, tears, and a deeper understanding of a life in stripes.


"I came for the hilarious stories about the strange place referees occupy in our sporting world and found myself pulled deep into a tale of family, fathers and sons, and how we never forget the way back home." —Wright Thompson, ESPN senior writer 

"Able sportswriting that, due to its focus on a little-known aspect of the game, will be illuminating even for die-hard fans." —Kirkus Reviews 

"It's uniquely structured with the voices of all three McGees coming through." —The Daily Independent 

"A story well told as [Ryan McGee] shares the football officiating experiences of his dad and family." —SEC Commissioner Greg Sankes 

"Ryan McGee has been one of my closest friends for nearly half our lives, and my admiration for his storytelling ability is infinite. Sidelines and Bloodlines is his deft storytelling at its best. Fathers and sons and sports—and the impenetrable bonds forged and memories created when they intersect." —Marty Smith, New York Times bestselling author and ESPN reporter

"Ryan McGee is a master storyteller who imbues all his work with wit, warmth, and brains. No one knows college football better than McGee...Sidelines and Bloodlines is a love letter to the game and to the ties that bind fathers and sons." —Jeremy Schaap, ESPN host, Outside the Lines 

"In my 40-plus years of coaching, I never shared a sideline with a more respected official than Jerry McGee." —Lou Holtz, Hall of Fame coach

Author Biography

Ryan McGee is a senior writer for ESPN. Dr. Jerry E. McGee is one of the most highly-decorated officials in college football history. Sam McGee is a lawyer in Charlotte, North Carolina. Rece Davis is the host of College GameDay, ESPN's flagship college football program. He also hosts the network's on-site coverage of the College Football Playoff and has been a regular contributor to SportsCenter and other ESPN shows and platforms since he joined the network in 1995.

Press Releases

Sidelines and Bloodlines

A Father, His Sons, and Our Life in College Football

By Ryan McGee, Dr. Jerry McGee, and Sam McGee / Foreword by Rece Davis


Contact: Sam Ofman, Triumph Books, 312.568.5450,


Being a college football official is a thankless job. If you make the wrong call, you get cussed out. If you make the right call, you get cussed out. There’s no fame, not much money, and, well, you’re going to get cussed out. But for Dr. Jerry McGee and his sons, the life of an official provided plenty to be thankful for.


In Sidelines and Bloodlines: A Father, His Sons, and Our Life in College Football (Triumph Books, Sep 15, 2020), ESPN’s Ryan McGee, along with his brother Sam and their dad, Jerry, explores how a shared passion for the game shaped the identity and character of his family. Jerry spent decades in stripes, becoming one of the most respected and decorated officials in college football. During those years his sons grew up revering their father’s position on the field, learning from Jerry not just the rules of the game, but the rules that would govern how to live their lives. Highlights include:


  • A thoughtful foreword from ESPN College Gameday host Rece Davis
  • Memories from Jerry’s years on the gridiron, including two Rose Bowls, three National Championships and Jerry’s final moments as an official
  • Insights and anecdotes from the biggest names in the sport, including Lou Holtz, Tim Tebow, Ray Lewis and many more
  • Behind the scenes of life as an official, and why a love of the game is the most important quality in a referee
  • Developing a bond beyond the game, and how the McGee’s shared passion helped them cope with the loss of wife and mother, Hannah


This powerful book is equal parts game story and memoir, bringing the McGee family from the sidelines to the center of the action. Loaded with humor, emotion and adventures surrounding college football, fans of all stripes will find value in this engaging new title.

About the Authors:

Ryan McGee is a senior writer for ESPN, prominently covering college football and motorsports. He also co-hosts the Marty & McGee show with Marty Smith. He is the author of ESPN Ultimate NASCAR: 100 Defining Moments in Stock Car Racing History and The Road to Omaha, and he co-authored the Dale Earnhardt Jr. book Racing to the Finish.


Dr. Jerry E. McGee spent nearly four decades and more than 400 games on the field as one of the most highly decorated officials in college football history.  

Sam McGee is a lawyer in Charlotte, North Carolina. He is a graduate of Yale Law School.