Linebacker Marvcus Patton played 13 seasons in the NFL, and 4 for the Buffalo Bills during the teams Super Bowl runs from 1990-1994. Long before he gave the fans in Orchard Park something to cheer about, he was watching football from the sidelines as a 9-year old in Los Angeles, CA.

That’s because Marcus Patton’s mom, Barbara Patton, played linebacker for the Los Angeles Dandelions in the National Women’s Football League (NWFL), the first professional football league for women.

I watched a lot of football in the 90’s. It was a fun time to be a Bills fan. I can remember announcers mentioning that Marcus Patton’s Mom played linebacker and I thought that was cool, but they never went into detail. This, of course, was before the internet so it wasn’t something you could just Google.

It turns out, a lot about the NWFL isn’t available on Google. It’s a league that went vastly uncovered by the media, so stories were hard to come by. Luckily, two talented authors did a ton of work to uncover some of those cool stories.

Many of the fascinating details of Barara Patton’s career are highlighted in a new book with another Buffalo tie-in. ‘Hail Mary - the Rise and Fall of the National Women’s Football League’ is the story of the NWFL, co-written by Buffalo native Lyndsey D’Arcangelo, along with Britini De La Cretaz. 

I have lived in Buffalo my entire life and had no idea that this city once had a professional football team called the Buffalo All Stars. I also did not know that women were pretty much forbidden from running more than a mile until the 1970’s. There's a lot of cool stuff to learn!

If you love football, love history, and want to support a local author, I suggest picking up ‘Hail Mary.’

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