American Football Database


The Chicago Bruisers were a charter member of the Arena Football League, playing in the four-team "demonstration season" of 1987. They played their home games in the former Rosemont Horizon, now the Allstate Arena, home of the Chicago Rush.


The Bruisers were an outgrowth of the Chicago Politicians, a team put together by Jim Foster to play an exhibition game to prove the feasibility of the sport the previous year. The team logo depicted a bulldog. One of the founders of the Bruisers was former Chicago Bears linebacker and WSCR host Doug Buffone.

The Bruisers were part of the 1987 "Showcase Game", losing to the Miami Vise by a score of 33-30.

The Bruisers Play By Play Announcer on Radio and TV for all three of their seasons was Les Grobstein and their Color Announcer was Chicago Bears Tight End Emery Moorehead

The Bruisers, like the Pittsburgh Gladiators but unlike the other two charter teams, the Denver Dynamite and the Washington Commandos, returned to play in the 1988 season. The team competed in the ArenaBowl that year, losing to the Detroit Drive. The Bruisers would be disbanded after competing in the 1989 season.The final two games they played were in Exhibition Games overseas against the Detroit Drive in Paris and then London in October 1989. These games are famous for Punter Mike Stein losing both games on botched punts.

The Chicago Bruisers are also featured in the film Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects, directed by J. Lee Thompson and starring Charles Bronson. The game shown sees the Bruisers visit the Los Angeles Cobras. It was released in early 1989.

The rights to the Bruisers name and history were purchased by Arena Football 1 in December 2009, along with the rest of the Arena Football League. There was a possibility that the AF1's new expansion team in Chicago would adopt the Bruisers name, but said team instead decided to adopt the identity of the Chicago Rush instead. Since the Rush and the Bruisers never played at the same time, it's conceivable that the new Rush will adopt the history of both the old Rush and the Bruisers.


Year W L T Win % Pts f Pts a Finish Playoff results
1987 2 4 0 0.333 217 310 3rd --
1988 10 1 1 0.875 526 374 1st Won Semifinals (Los Angeles 29-16)
Lost ArenaBowl II (Detroit 23-14)
1989 1 3 0 0.250 167 155 4th Lost Week 1 (Detroit 43-10)
Totals 14 10 1 0.560 910 839 (including playoffs)

Notable players

  • Steve Thonn, Wide Receiver/Defensive Back 1988-89
  • Willie Totten, Quarterback [Jerry Rice's QB at Miss. Valley St. NCAAs]
  • Mark Rodenhauser, Centre/Linebacker/Kick Snapper [Featured on the All-Madden Team, 1997 as best kick snapper in Pro Football]
  • Eddie Phillips, Running back/Defensive Back [First player signed by Arena Football, 1986]
  • Mike Hold, Quarterback 1987 - Current Coach of the Mahoning Valley Thunder
  • Sean Payton, Quarterback 1987 - Current Coach of the New Orleans Saints
  • Brent Johnson, Offensive/Defensive line 1987-88
  • Durwood Roquemore, Wide Receiver/Defensive back 1987-88
  • Reggie Smith, Kick Returner/Wide Receiver/Defensive back 1987-89
  • Carl Aikens, Wide Receiver/Defensive Back 1987
  • Mike Clark, Offensive Line/Defensive Line 1987
  • Dane Griffin, Offensive Line/Defensive Line 1987
  • Steph Finch, Wide Receiver/Defensive Back 1987
  • Terry Hinn, Wide Receiver/Defensive Back 1987
  • Rich Salzer, Safety/Wide Receiver/Kicker 1986-87
  • Mike McCurry, Offensive/Defensive Lineman 1987-88
  • Billy Stone, Fullback/Linebacker 1987-88
  • Troy Hill, Wide Receiver/Defensive Back 1987
  • Daryl Hart, Wide Receiver/Defensive Back 1987
  • Eric Larson, Offensive Line/Defensive Line 1987
  • Nick Mike-Mayer, Kicker 1987
  • Marco Morlaes, Kicker 1988
  • Reggie Oliver, Fullback/Linebacker 1987
  • Ken Sanders, Wide Receiver/Defensive Back 1987
  • William Logan, Offensive Line/Defensive Line 1987
  • Clyde Skipper, Wide Receiver/Defensive Back 1987
  • Dennis Washington, Fullback/Linebacker 1987
  • Charles Tobais, Offensive Line/Defensive Line 1988
  • Durell Taylor, Wide Receiver/Defensive Back 1988

AFL Hall of Famers

  • Durwood Roquemore
  • Perry Moss
  • Carl Aikens
  • Ben Bennett
  • Reggie Smith


  • The team appeared on the game EA Sports Arena Football as a hidden bonus team.


predecessor:Chicago Politicians successor:Chicago Rush

External links