Bleachers is set in Messina High School. Messina is known for their excellent football program, and their is one particular reason for that. That reason is coach Eddie Rake. Eddie Rake coached for 34 years, and every one of those 34 seasons was a winning one. Rake was no normal coach. Rake's secret to winning was being as tough on his players as possible. He held intense workouts that were very hard on the players. He verbally berated his players just for doing the slightest things wrong.
This book is mainly about Neely Crenshaw, the star quarterback of one of Rake's many successful teams. Crenshaw had a very odd relationship with Coach Rake. Rake pushed Crenshaw to be his best, but sometimes he was pushed too far. A key moment in Bleachers is in a title game. Crenshaw knocks out Rake because of a quarrel between them. Cut to present day, and Coach Rake is lying on his death bed from cancer. Many of his players are coming back to the high school to say goodbye.
Bleachers mostly takes place in the bleachers of the high school's stadium. Many players reminisce on their past lives and talk about their lives now. At Coach Rake's funeral, Neely Crenshaw is one of the few asked to give a eulogy. Crenshaw talked about many touchy and sometimes heart-wrenching subjects about both his and Rake's life.