|Team history||Rochester Raiders
|Based in||Rochester, New York|
|Arena||Bill Gray's Regional Iceplex|
|Head coach||Mark Thurston|
Atlantic West: (2008)
CIFL: (2006, 2007, 2008)
IFL: (2009, 2010)
The Rochester Raiders are a professional indoor football team based in the Rochester, New York area. They play their home games at Bill Gray's Regional Iceplex in Rochester. The Raiders were previously a member of the Continental Indoor Football League from 2006 to 2008 and the American Indoor Football Association for two exhibition matches in 2008. Since 2014, they have been a member of American Indoor Football (AIF).
The Raiders played in the CIFL championship game twice, both times against the Port Huron / Michigan Pirates. They lost to Port Huron in 2006 but defeated Michigan in 2007. Rochester finished the 2008 regular season undefeated at 12–0; however, the team resigned after their final regular season opponent, the Flint Phantoms, did not show for the game and forfeited.
The Rochester Raiders were founded in 2006 as a charter member of the newly created Great Lakes Indoor Football League (GLIFL). The Raiders derived their name from a local flag football team. There have been a small number of fans concerned with copyright between the team's logo and the National Football League's Oakland Raiders. However, since the Rochester team never plays in California, this is not believed to be of real concern. The Raiders were one of two 2006 teams in the GLIFL that held a television contract, at the time with WBGT-CA, a local low-power station. Games have since been moved to Time Warner Cable SportsNet.
The Raiders' first home venue was the ESL Sports Centre in Brighton (a suburb of Rochester, now known as Bill Gray's Regional Iceplex). The team's 2006 roster featured Syracuse University standout wide receiver Maurice Jackson (who won the inaugural GLIFL Wide Receiver of the Year Award), quarterback Matt Cottengim (the league's inaugural MVP), Darius Smith (the league's inaugural Return Man of the Year), and in January 2006, they signed 2-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl XXVI Most Valuable Player Mark Rypien to a one-game contract. Rochester went 8–4 under head coach Dennis Greco (on loan from East Rochester High School) during the 2006 regular season and advanced to the postseason. However, they would ultimately fall to the Port Huron Pirates by a score of 40–34 in Great Lakes Bowl I, the GLIFL championship game. After the season, the Raiders moved from the 2,500-seat ESL Sports Centre to the 5,000-seat Main Street Armory in downtown Rochester.
2006 GLIFL standings
2006 Great Lakes Indoor Football League
|Port Huron Pirates-y||10||0||0||1.000|
|Lehigh Valley Outlawz-x||5||5||0||.500|
|Battle Creek Crunch-x||4||6||0||.400|
|New York/New Jersey Revolution||0||10||0||.000|
In 2007, ultimately the Raiders' only season in the Armory, they finished the regular season with a 10–2 record under new head coach Eddie Long, good for first in the Atlantic Division. In the playoffs, Rochester won the CIFL championship by defeating the previously-unbeaten Michigan Pirates 37–27 in the CIFL Indoor Championship Game on July 28, 2007. Mike Condello was named the game's Most Valuable Player. The game was held at the Blue Cross Arena (a venue with roughly double the capacity of the Main Street Armory) due to a pro wrestling show which was being held at The Armory. The Raiders moved to the Blue Cross Arena full-time beginning with the 2008 season.
|March 17||Port Huron Pirates||Home||Lost 30-62|
|March 24||New England Surge||Home||Won 77-40|
|March 30||Port Huron Pirates||Away||Lost 13-60|
|April 14||Lehigh Valley Outlawz||Away||Won 63-25|
|April 21||Chesapeake Tide||Away||Won 89-49|
|April 28||Chesapeake Tide||Home||Won 52-16|
|May 5||Chicago Slaughter||Away||Won 49-40|
|May 19||New York/New Jersey Revolution||Home||Won 62-0|
|May 26||Lehigh Valley Outlawz||Home||Won 77-49|
|June 2||Steubenville Stampede||Home||Won 81-6|
|June 9||New York/New Jersey Revolution||Away||Won 56-21|
|June 16||New England Surge||Away||Won 49-40|
|July 7||Chesapeake Tide (Playoffs)||Home||Won 76-43|
|July 14||New England Surge (Playoffs)||Home||Won 80-45|
|July 28||Michigan Pirates (CIFL Indoor Championship Game)||Home (BCA)||Won 37-27|
2007 CIFL standings
2007 Continental Indoor Football League
|Great Lakes Conference|
|Miami Valley Silverbacks||4||8||0||.333||3||7||0||.300|
|Summit County Rumble||1||11||0||.083||0||7||0||.000|
|New England Surge-x||8||4||0||.667||8||3||0||.727|
|Lehigh Valley Outlawz-x||7||5||0||.583||5||5||0||.500|
Rochester kept most of its championship-caliber core together, re-signing quarterbacks Mike Mikolaichik, Matt Cottingem, and Omar Baker; running backs Jamil Porter and Dee Glanton; wide receivers Maurice Jackson, Chris Carter, Noah Fahrenbauch, and Derrick Dyer; offensive linemen Mike Kallfeltz and Eric Jendryaszek; linebackers Jason Coley and James Vann; defensive linemen Terrence Dawson and Tom Parks; defensive backs Chris Shaw, Darius Smith, Makis Whitaker, and Jeff Richardson; and kicker Adam Lanctot. The team also added tight end / defensive end TJ Cottrell (son of Ted Cottrell), wide receiver Darryl Fragger, running back Felix Joyner, defensive lineman Steve Flemming (all three from Port Huron), running back / wide receiver Mark Bly and linebacker Brenton Brady (both from Miami Valley) by way of free agency.
The mix of holdovers from the 2007 club with players from free agency proved to be a winning combination as the team was wildly successful in 2008. They finished the regular season undefeated (12–0; 11–0 in contested games) and won their second straight division title (but first in the Atlantic West Division). However, the Raiders withdrew from the CIFL playoffs on June 8, 2008, after the Flint Phantoms failed to show up for a Sunday afternoon game. The team then immediately moved to the American Indoor Football Association, and played two exhibition matches there, but then announced a move to the Indoor Football League instead. Speculation among fans and league personnel on CIFL message boards is that some Raiders players will play with the new af2 team in Buffalo, New York—which shares ownership with the Raiders—starting in 2009. As part of the deal, Thurman Thomas, who is the other investor in the Buffalo af2 team, will also acquire a share of the Raiders.
|March 21||Chesapeake Tide||Away||Won 43-36|
|March 29||Lehigh Valley Outlawz||Home||Won 49-27|
|April 5||Marion Mayhem||Away||Won 52-19|
|April 12||New Jersey Revolution||Home||Won 49-3|
|April 19||Saginaw Sting||Home||Won 59-43|
|April 26||New Jersey Revolution||Away||Won 59-16|
|May 3||New England Surge||Home||Won 62-20|
|May 10||Lehigh Valley Outlawz||Away||Won 45-26|
|May 17||Chesapeake Tide||Home||Won 58-13|
|May 24||Flint Phantoms||Away||Won 35-12|
|May 31||New England Surge||Away||Won 52-25|
|June 8||Flint Phantoms||Home||Won Forfeit|
2008 CIFL standings
2008 Continental Indoor Football League
|Great Lakes Conference|
|Fort Wayne Freedom||5||7||0||.417||2||4||0||.333|
|Miami Valley Silverbacks||3||9||0||.250||1||2||0||.333|
|Rock River Raptors-x||7||5||0||.583||3||1||0||.750|
|New England Surge-y||8||3||0||.727||5||1||0||.833|
|Lehigh Valley Outlawz-x||7||5||0||.583||4||2||0||.667|
|New Jersey Revolution||3||9||0||.250||2||5||0||.286|
In December 2009, Rochester businessman Bob Bartosiewicz sold his majority share in the team to minority owner and team founder Dave McCarthy, and McCarthy announced that the team would be playing its 2010 home games at the Dome Arena in Henrietta, which has 2,164 seats—the lowest seating capacity of any IFL team, and lower than the previous arenas they used in the GLIFL and CIFL.
2010 IFL standings
|2010 Atlantic East Division|
|West Michigan ThunderHawks||5||9||0||0.357||8.0||4-5||606||728||L4|
In November 2010, the Rochester Raiders announced its cessation of operations.
Professional indoor football would return to the city in 2013, with the announcement of the independent Roc City Thunder taking up residence in the city.
Starting in the 2014 season the Rochester Raiders will be playing in the American Indoor Football League. After initially announcing plans to return to the Main Street Armory, a scheduling issue prompted the team to instead return to Bill Gray's.
The Raiders suspended operations after the 2014 season with the intent of returning in 2016.
|Rochester Raiders (GLIFL)|
|2006||8||4||0||2nd League||Won Semifinal (Lehigh Valley)
Lost Great Lakes Bowl I (Port Huron)
|Rochester Raiders (CIFL)|
|2007||10||2||0||1st Atlantic||Won AD Semifinal (Chesapeake)
Won AD Championship (New England)
Won CIFL Indoor Championship Game (Michigan)
|2008||12||0||0||1st Atlantic West||Quit league|
|Rochester Raiders (IFL)|
|2009||10||4||0||2nd United Atlantic||Lost Divisionals I (River City)|
|2010||9||5||0||2nd Atlantic East||Won Round 1 (Richmond)
Lost Conference Semi-Final (Wichita)
|Rochester Raiders (AIF)|
|2014||4||4||0||3rd AIF League||Lost Round 1 (Baltimore Mariners)|
* = Current Standing
Rochester Raiders roster
Rookies in italics
- Head coach: Mark Thurston
- Assistant coaches: Eddie Long
- "Raiders Move to Blue Cross Arena". R News. Time Warner Cable. November 19, 2007. Retrieved September 22, 2008.[dead link]
- "Rochester Raiders To Withdraw From CIFL". Our Sports Central.com. June 8, 2008. Retrieved September 22, 2008.
- "Indoor football Raiders win opener". Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (Rochester, New York: Gannett Company). March 21, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-28.
- Weinstein, Matt (March 29, 2008). "Indoor football Raiders win opener". Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (Rochester, New York: Gannett Company). Retrieved 2008-04-28.
- Putman, Bob. "Champ Raiders maul Mayhem". The Marion Star (Marion, Ohio: Gannett Company). Retrieved 2008-04-23.Archived 2008-04-23
- Weinstein, Matt (April 12, 2008). "Rochester Raiders rout New Jersey". Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (Rochester, New York: Gannett Company). Retrieved 2008-04-28.
- "Sting suffer first loss" (xml). Saginaw News (Saginaw, Michigan: Booth Newspapers). 2008-04-20. Retrieved 2008-04-23.
- "Raiders rout Revolution again" (xml). Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (Rochester, New York]]: Gannett Company). 2008-04-27. Retrieved 2008-04-29.
- Savage, Brendan (2008-05-25). "Phantoms' upset bid fades in second half". Flint Journal (Booth Newspapers). Retrieved 2008-06-06.
- Nilsen, Dan (2008-06-08). "Flint Phantoms forfeit CIFL finale; opponent quits league". Flint Journal (Booth Newspapers). Archived from the original on 2008-06-10. Retrieved 2008-06-09.