The Super Bowl champion and former Stanford soccer star welcomed their son in 1996
Christian McCaffrey's parents, Ed and Lisa McCaffrey, attribute his record-breaking NFL career to his drive.
Christian and his three brothers were raised in Colorado following Ed’s successful NFL career. His father was drafted by the New York Giants in 1991, and throughout his 13-season professional football journey, he earned three Super Bowl rings and was named to the Pro Bowl.
Though he followed in Ed's footsteps, Christian, a San Francisco 49ers running back who left Stanford early and was the 8th overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, has said living in the shadow of his esteemed dad wasn't always easy.
"Growing up I was Ed's kid, we were always Ed's sons and so in a way, that was an advantage for us because we got to experience a little bit of that already," he told NBC Sports in 2023. "I think myself and three of my brothers, we all kind of wanted to branch off and create our own name."
His mom and dad supported this goal believing he was capable of it. "We knew that he would do whatever it took to win. He put everything he had in whatever he was doing," Lisa told Bleacher Report in 2015.
So, who are Christian McCaffrey's parents? From their athletic careers at Stanford to their close bond with their four sons, here’s everything to know about Ed and Lisa McCaffrey.
It was love at first sight for Ed
Ed and Lisa got married on April 4, 1992. According to the Chicago Tribune, the couple dated for a few months before walking down the aisle — but they have different memories about their first encounter.
At the time, Ed and Lisa were student-athletes at Stanford University playing different sports and crossed paths on campus. In a 1999 conversation with The Denver Post, Ed said he met Lisa at a birthday party of a mutual friend. “For me, it was love at first sight,” he recalled.
Lisa remembers it differently, though. According to her, they were in a trainer’s room where she was getting taped. "If he doesn’t remember, it’s because he was this big-time football player, and I was just this little soccer player,” she quipped.
Despite the "little discrepancy," Ed and Lisa have celebrated their union over the decades. In honor of their 25th wedding anniversary in 2017, she posted a tribute to her husband on Instagram.
"25 years ain't no joke. I love you more than ever, @87ed. Happy Anniversary ❤️❤️," Lisa captioned a photo of them smiling at the camera.
They were both multi-sport athletes
While at Central Catholic High School in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Ed played basketball, leading the team to two state titles in 1984 and 1986. When he transitioned to football, he also excelled in it and was a Parade All-American, per The Denver Post.
He went on to play football at Stanford, where he earned first-team All-American and All-Pac-10 Conference honors as a senior and ranked fifth all-time in receptions (146) and third in receiving yards (2,333). After being drafted into the NFL in 1991 by the New York Giants, Ed played for the San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos until he retired in 2004.
On the other hand, Lisa followed in her dad's footsteps and set track records. Her father, Dr. Dave Sime, was considered the fastest man in the world in the mid-1950s, according to The Washington Post. The Olympian track sprinter also made a name for himself in basketball and football.
Apart from running, Lisa lettered four times in tennis and received Vanderbilt's first-ever women’s soccer scholarship, but she turned it down to go to Stanford. Although the university had no official soccer team, Lisa played for the Cardinal for three years.
“Sports taught me a lot,” she told The Denver Post. “It makes you realize that you can handle just about anything.”
Ed played in the NFL for 13 seasons
Ed was drafted by the New York Giants in the third round as the 83rd overall pick of the 1991 NFL Draft. Throughout his career, he won three Super Bowl rings — two with the San Francisco 49ers and one with the Denver Broncos.
Injuries, including a compound leg fracture playing a Monday Night Football game, led to his 2004 retirement.
"I think he's an unbelievable mentor, he's a great friend,” Christian told NFL 360 of his dad. “He's a human being that I like to copy because he's done it so well, he's done it the right way."
They have four sons
Ed and Lisa became parents for the first time when they welcomed their son Max in 1994; followed by Christian in 1996, Dylan in 1999 and Luke in 2001.
After finding out the sex of their oldest child, Max, Lisa believed she was destined to be a boy mom.
"They said it was a boy and for some reason, I just knew in my head that I was going to have all boys from then on. I just had an inkling, an intuition,” Lisa told NBC Sports Bay Area in 2023.
She continued, "I wouldn't have it any other way — I love every single one of them, they're amazing and they all round out the family perfectly and I love them."
Lisa wanted their kids to pursue their own passions
Despite being two athletic stars, Ed and Lisa did not push their children into playing sports.
“Who knows if they are going to be talented or not,” Lisa told The Denver Post in 2015 of her sons and football. “But I want them to be involved in what they love. If that’s books or music, that’s a good thing, too.”
As it turns out, they were instantly drawn to football, including Christian, who wanted to start playing at age 7 but had to wait until he was older. When he eventually got on the field, he dedicated himself to doing well.
"You saw him work, and it made you want to work just as hard," Lisa told Bleacher Report in 2015. "You get him on a team, and he's very serious about it; it's very important to him that he does well for the team. During the offseason, he trains like it's the [regular] season."
Christian is the second oldest of four football-playing sons. Max played for three years in the NFL as a wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers, Jackson Jaguars and the San Francisco 49ers. In 2023, he joined the Miami Dolphins as an offensive assistant after coaching at the University of North Colorado. (Ed was the head coach at North Colorado for three years.)
As for Dylan, he was a collegiate quarterback at North Colorado and the University of Michigan before graduating in 2022. Currently, Luke is part of the Rice University football team.
The family of athletes has Olympic roots
Lisa is the daughter of Dr. David Sime, a multi-sport athlete at Duke University and Olympian sprinter who took home silver in the 1960 Games.
“I didn’t know about the Olympics and all of that until my fifth-grade gym teacher told me,” she told The Denver Post in 2015. “My dad’s like a thoroughbred. He’s so hyper and so intense. He has to work out. If he doesn’t, he’s like a race horse that can’t run. He’s got all this pent-up energy.”
In a 2015 profile in Newsweek, it was revealed that everyone in the family calls Sime by his first name, Dave, including his grandson Christian.
"Dave just has so many stories,” Christian told the outlet. "I call him 'the Most Interesting Man in the World.’ ”
After retiring from sports, he became a well-known ophthalmologist in Miami. Sime died on Jan. 12, 2016, at 79, per The New York Times.
Lisa co-hosts a weekly podcast
The mom of four is the co-host of Your Mom, a weekly podcast about what it’s like to have a son in the NFL — and she doesn’t hold back.
From cheering Christian on post-game to honest conversations with co-host Ashley Adamson about motherhood, Lisa has opened up about both the highs and lows of being a parent.
“It has made me miss and reminisce about those times when my kids were little — the good, and bad, too,” Lisa told The Athletic in 2023.
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