The home side were a man down from the 35th minute when Bobby Grant, presumably unhappy he had not been given a free-kick, was dismissed after lunging into a tackle on Rory McArdle.
City had suffered a blow before kick-off when Gary Jones, who played more than 500 games for Rochdale before switching to Valley Parade, was ruled out by injury.
But they appeared to be unhindered by his absence as they produced some neat football in tricky conditions.
Their problem was that the shots they had all went straight at home keeper Josh Lillis who had little trouble saving from Nathan Doyle and James Hanson, who also headed wide from a Will Atkinson cross.
George Donnelly went closest for the home side with an effort inside the opening minute that Jon McLaughlin was pleased to see flash wide.
City dominated the second half but were unable to find a way through the home defence.
Ricky Ravenhill fired an effort straight at Lillis from 12 yards and Andrew Davies was denied by Joe Rafferty’s goal-line clearance.
Zavon Hines used his pace to get free on the left only to send his right-foot shot flashing across the goal and wide. And the domination continued until the last seconds when, after a fox had interrupted play by racing the length of the pitch, Alan Connell curled an effort narrowly wide.
Rochdale: Lillis; Rafferty, R Edwards, Bennett, McIntryre; P Edwards, Donnelly, Kennedy (Putterill 87), Tutte, Grant; Adebola. Unused substitutes: Barry-Murphy, Grimes, Pearson, Curran, Craney, Smith.
Bradford City: McLaughlin; McArdle, Davies, Oliver, Meredith; Reid (Hines 26), Ravenhill (Thompson 75), Doyle, Atkinson; Wells (Connell 81), Hanson. Unused substitutes: Duke, R Jones, Darby, McHugh.
Referee: J Adcock (Nottingham).
Rotherham United’s League Two match at Accrington Stanley last night was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.