The Bantams took the lead on eight minutes through defender Matt Kilgallon and there was little to suggest the avalanche of goals to come.
But four goals in five minutes before half-time, saw the game go goal-crazy.
Charlie Wyke netted for 2-0, Ian Henderson netted twice - either side of Dominic Poleon’s effort - as the hosts went in 3-2 ahead.
Steve Davies equalised for Rochdale at 3-3 with 15 minutes remaining.
But the game was not ever, as Tyrell Robinson popped up with a Bradford winner.