The little-known, fascinating story of the rise and fall of the National Women's Football League, told through the players whose spirit, rivalries, and tenacity carried the league and furthered the legacy of women in sports
In 1967, a Cleveland businessman had a brilliant idea: why not start a women's football team? It was conceived as a gimmick and a publicity stunt in the vein of the Harlem Globetrotters. He recruited women to compete as a traveling football troupe; much to his surprise, he learned that women really wanted to play, and play hard.
Hail Mary is the story of the unlikely rise of the National Women's Football League and the players who loved a game that society told them they shouldn't be playing. In nineteen cities around the country, against the backdrop of second-wave feminism and the passage of Title IX, these athletes broke new barriers and showed adoring crowds what women were capable of physically. Thousands of people came to watch-perhaps to gawk at first but then, in the end, to cheer. Hail Mary is a rollicking chronicle of fearless women-players on the Detroit Demons, the Toledo Troopers, the LA Dandelions, and more-bringing us into the stadiums where they broke records, the small-town lesbian bars where they were recruited, and the backrooms where the league was conceived, and where it ended.
Hail Mary is a celebration of women athletes and their fight on and off the field, and a powerful story of the league that changed their lives and the course of women's sports.