Chicago Bruisers
Established 1987
Folded 1989
Played in Rosemont Horizon
in Rosemont, Illinois
League/conference affiliations
Arena Football League (19871989)
Team colorsBlack, light blue, white
Head coachGeorge Brancato
Team history
  • Chicago Bruisers (1987–1989)
League championships (0)
Conference championships (0)
Prior to 2005, the AFL did not have conference championship games
Division championships (0)
Prior to 1992, the AFL did not have divisions
Playoff appearances (2)
Home arena(s)

The Chicago Bruisers were a professional arena football team based in Rosemont, Illinois. They were founded in 1987 as a charter member of the Arena Football League (AFL). They played their home games at Rosemont Horizon.


Founding (1987)

Main article: 1987 Chicago Bruisers season

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 took a chance with a young team that averaged 25 years of age.[1] The Bruisers' lost their first game in franchise history, 44–52 in overtime, to the Denver Dynamite.[2] The Bruisers struggled in their second game, giving up 45 points in the first half before losing 23–60 to the Pittsburgh Gladiators.[3] Despite getting off to a 2–3 start, the Bruisers had an opportunity to make it to ArenaBowl I with a win in the final week of the season against the Dynamite.[4] The Bruisers however would lose 35–52. They finished with a record of 2–4 and failed to qualify for the playoffs.

The Bruisers' play-by-play announcer on radio and TV for all three of their seasons was Les Grobstein and their color commentator was Chicago Bears tight end Emery Moorehead.

Moss and ArenaBowl II (1988)

Main article: 1988 Chicago Bruisers season

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. In February, the team hired Perry Moss as the franchise's second coach.[5] Moss also served as general manager.[6] The team competed in ArenaBowl II that year, losing 24–13 to the Detroit Drive.[7]

End of the Bruisers (1989)

Main article: 1989 Chicago Bruisers season

The Bruisers would be disbanded after competing in the 1989 season.[8] The final two games they played were in exhibition games overseas against the Detroit Drive in Paris and then London in October 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 was conceivable that the new Rush would adopt the history of both the old Rush and the Bruisers.

2011 Honors

In 2011, the Chicago Rush celebrated its 10th season in the Arena Football League and honored the Chicago Bruisers.

In the Rush home opener on March 18, 2011 against the Philadelphia Soul, Chicago wore black uniforms similar to the Bruisers with a patch featuring the original Bruiser Bulldog. In the game, Chicago won the game 62–28. The Rush also adopted a real bulldog from a local Chicago pound that can be seen during games around the arena. Starting during the 2011 season, the Chicago Rush began wearing black uniforms more often over their traditional navy home jerseys the team has worn from 2001 to 2010 to honor the Bruisers.

Notable players

Final roster

Chicago Bruisers roster

Wide Receivers/Defensive Backs

Running Backs/Linebackers
  • 32 Darryl Clark
  • -- Jeff Dole
  • 82 Osia Lewis
  • 89 Dan Sellers

Offensive Linemen/Defensive Linemen

  • -- Alan Donnell
  • -- Pete Endre
  • -- George Miller
  • -- Ted McNairy
  • -- Keith Williams
Wide Receivers/Linebackers

Defensive Specialists


Rookies in italics
Roster updated January 29, 2013
19 Active, 0 Inactive, 0 PS

→ More rosters

Arena Football League Hall of Famers

Chicago Bruiser Hall of Famers
No. Name Year Inducted Position(s) Years w/ Bruisers
84 Carl Aikens, Jr. 2000 WR/DB 1988-89
5 Ben Bennett 2000 QB 1988-89
-- Perry Moss 2000 Head Coach 1988
21 Durwood Roquemore 1999 DS 1987-88
-- Reggie Smith 2002 OS 1987-89

Individual awards

Chicago Bruisers All-Arena players

The following Bruisers players have been named to All-Arena Teams:

Other notable players

Notable coaches

Head coaches

Note: Statistics are correct through the end of the 1989 Arena Football League season.

Name Term Regular Season Playoffs Awards
W L T Win% W L
Ray Jauch 1987 2 4 0 .333 0 0
Perry Moss 1988 10 1 1 .875 1 1 1988 AFL Coach of the Year
George Brancato 1989 1 3 0 .250 0 1


Season records
Season W L T Finish Playoff results
1987 2 4 0 3rd --
1988 10 1 1 1st Won Semifinals (Los Angeles 29-16)
Lost ArenaBowl II (Detroit 23-14)
1989 1 3 0 4th Lost Week 1 (Detroit 43-10)
Totals 13 8 1 (including playoffs)


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.


  1. ^ "And Now, Your Chicago Bruisers". Chicago Tribune. June 16, 1987. Retrieved January 31, 2013.
  2. ^ Linda Young (June 22, 1987). "So Far, So Good For Arena Football". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 31, 2013.
  3. ^ Linda Young (June 28, 1987). "Pittsburgh Bombs Bruisers". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 31, 2013.
  4. ^ "Arena Football Officials Truly A Calculating Bunch". Chicago Tribune. July 24, 1987. Retrieved January 31, 2013.
  5. ^ Linda Kay & Mike Conklin (February 23, 1988). "The Silver Fox is on the scene: Blackhawks General Manager..." Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  6. ^ Linda Kay & Mike Conklin (February 26, 1988). ""Well," Harry Caray told us Thursday from his home in Palm..." Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  7. ^ Andrew Bagnato (July 31, 1988). "Drive Downs Bruisers For Arena Bowl Title". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  8. ^ John Lombardo (October 5, 1998). "Arena football sought for Chicago". Street and Smith's Sports Group. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
  9. ^ Sonnone, Brendan (August 30, 2015). "FSU coach Jimbo Fisher's past helped him become an elite quarterback whisperer". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved January 13, 2017.