The West Texas Roughnecks is a professional indoor football team based in Odessa, Texas. The team's nickname is a tribute to the oil industry, which has been the source of Odessa's wealth over the past century.
The team began operations in 2004 as the Odessa Roughnecks, a charter member of the Intense Football League (IFL). In 2005, the IFL merged with the NIFL. For the 2006 season, the IFL was resurrected, and the Odessa Roughnecks returned to their original league. In 2008 the Intense Football League merged again, this time with the UIF to create the Indoor Football League.
The team plays its home games at the Ector County Coliseum in Odessa. The team was sold by its original owner (Tommy Benizio) in September 2008 to Allegiance Pro Sports, Inc. In January of 2010, Dale and Jay Morris of Midland, Texas purchased the Roughnecks from Allegiance Pro Sports.
The Roughnecks are coached by Chris Williams. The 2010 season will be Coach Williams's seventh season with the Roughnecks.
The Roughnecks won its first championship in 2006 at Intense Bowl 2 by beating the Corpus Christi Hammerheads 97–56, which is an IFL record for most points scored by one team in a game. The team finished with an overall record of 14–2.
In 2003, the nearly 20 year old Arena Football League that had been only in major markets like New York and Chicago, was now spreading across the nation in small to middle sized cities. Jerry Jones of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys kicked off his AFL franchise in Dallas and secured the rights to every smaller market in the state of Texas with a suitable arena for indoor football. When Jones couldn’t be reached to discuss selling these rights, a new league was formed throughout the state. In August 2003, Chad Dittman, President of the fledgling Intense Football League announced that Odessa would be one of the sites for his new professional indoor football league.
Through prayer shortly after, Abby and Tommy Benizio decided to purchased the franchise and moved to the Permian Basin along with their pet prairie dogs. By the close of 2003, the franchise creatively announced the name of “Roughnecks” along with the unveiling of a logo fit for the community and a mascot whom has become a staple in both Odessa and Midland known as Digger.
The team kicked off on May 8th, 2004 under the direction of head coach Chris Williams who lead the team to a 9-7 record and home field advantage in the playoffs. Lubbock defeated Odessa in overtime just one game shy of the championship but the season did not end without the success of leading the IFL in attendance and having promoted more players to the next level than any other team in the league.
This success became well known throughout the national football community, and along with the hard work of the teams coaches, Odessa enjoyed a very rare undefeated regular season in the National Indoor Football League in 2005. Despite losing one game shy of the championship again, the Roughnecks were once more atop of their league in attendance, successfully hosted the first ever NIFL All-Star Game, and could boast a 16-1 overall record.
With the opportunity to freshen things up, the Roughnecks assisted in the reformation of the IFL. With a history of great success in the franchise and a great spirit of enthusiasm in the offices and locker room, 2006 turned out to be the team’s best season yet.
The team was recently bought by Jay and Dale Morris of Midland, Texas. They will be changing their name to the West Texas Roughnecks.
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