The 2023 Chicago Bears season might be in the books, but that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop. With another critical off-season ahead, one of the biggest discussions surrounding this team has been at the quarterback position. Despite the sizable improvements made in 2023, Chicago will hold a pair of Top 10 picks in April’s draft. On top of that, they currently sit with the eighth most cap space, according to our friends at Over The Cap.
The biggest topic of conversation revolving around the quarterback discussion in Chicago is nestled tightly around the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. Although the Bears finished 2023 with a four-game improvement over their (3-14) record in 2022, the Carolina Panthers dropped off a cliff. Thanks to general manager Ryan Poles’ early-March trade of last year’s top pick, Chicago currently holds the No. 1 and No. 9 picks in late April.
Because of their unique situation, debates have raged on for months regarding the Bears’ pending quarterback decision. Did Justin Fields show enough improvement in 2023 to warrant a fourth season? If you believe he did, maybe that’s where the conversation ends. For others, Fields’ improvements are only a part of the conversation. Because of where he’s at in his contract, some will argue that despite his improvements, he hasn’t shown enough to bypass “resetting the clock.” While both sides of the conversation have many valid points to consider, the debate has turned ugly. That’s why Windy City Gridiron decided to put our heads together and turn a hot-button topic into another chance to give back.
A little background: Both Aaron and Greg are big animal people. Aaron has been heavily involved in rescue and fostering for the better part of the last 10 years, while Greg and his family previously bred Vizslas and now have a rescue pup of their own. The general idea behind this friendly wager is to get folks involved. While also giving back outside of the game of football. Both have mindfully selected their featured rescue to support.
How it works: Both Aaron and Greg have put up a $50 friendly wager. Aaron believes that the Bears will take USC quarterback Caleb Williams at No. 1 overall. Greg, on the other hand, has been steadfast in his belief that the Bears will trade down and stick with Justin Fields as their starter for the 2024 season. The “loser” of this bet will donate $50 to the “winner’s” rescue of choice. Those two rescues are listed below.
How you can get involved: Pick a side! Put your money where your mouth is! Most importantly, have some fun with it! That’s our entire goal here. Once you’ve taken a side, make a pledge. Whether that’s $1, $5, $50, or $100, the choice is yours. Once you pledge an amount that you’re comfortable with, you’ll donate that money to the winning side’s rescue. If you’d like to donate to both, please do. Both are outstanding organizations and serve great purposes. If, by some small chance, the Bears do not keep Fields or draft Caleb Williams, we are asking that you donate your pledge to either rescue being featured or one of your own choosing.
What Happens If Neither Situation Plays Out?: Simple! Pick your favorite local or national animal rescue, and donate your pledge to them. No matter how this plays out, the ultimate goal is to turn this into a positive for at least one animal organization!
With all of that in mind, we’re going to provide some additional information on each rescue. Even if you aren’t in a position to donate, these rescues are always in need of volunteers, fosters, and adopters.
Team Gabriel (Justin Fields): Supporting PAWS Chicago Rescue
Where To Donate: https://www.pawschicago.org/how-to-help/donate
PAWS Chicago started in 1997 with a clear goal in mind: that PAWS would work to end the unnecessary killing each year of tens of thousands of helpless cats and dogs. Since surpassing their 25 years of serving the Chicago community, they have done amazing work. That includes opening up a spay and neuter clinic in 2000, A Lincoln Park adoption center in 2007, and a Training/Adoption Center in North Shore in 2014. Their solutions-based approach has led to a whopping 91% drop in the euthanasia rate city-wide since opening their doors 26 years ago. In that time, they’ve performed more than 280,000 free/low-cost spay/neuter surgeries and have adopted over 70,000 animals. As a whole, they’ve saved 98% of the pets that have walked through their doors. If you ask me, those are incredible numbers!
In 2022 alone, they had 4,629 adoptions and performed 15,424 surgeries. That doesn’t include the 95,386 hours put in by volunteers at PAWS Chicago. While being a big proponent of the No Kill model, they also do a great job with education in the community. While the issue of homeless animals is a complex one, education can go a long way in curbing the issue in the long term.
Their mission is simple:
- To build No Kill communities – starting with a No Kill Chicago – that respect and value the life of every cat and dog.
- To end the overpopulation of homeless animals through solutions, practices and education.
- To transform animal welfare by setting higher standards in the way animals are treated and developing a sustainable, solutions-based model.
As always, volunteers and donations are what make organizations like PAWS Chicago possible! Please reach out to them directly for more information about how to get involved with an organization that has done plenty of amazing work in its 26 years.
Why Greg Chose PAWS Chicago: “I chose Paws Chicago for a few reasons the most important of which is they do an excellent job in the work of rescuing dogs. I have a rescue dog myself and he is the best dog I have ever had.”
Team Leming (Caleb Williams): Supporting Save Rocky the Great Dane Rescue and Rehab
Adoptable Pets: https://saverockythegreatdane.org/adopt
Save Rocky was founded in 2011 under tragic circumstances. Sometimes simply sitting on the sideline isn’t good enough and that’s what the founders of this Great Dane rescue decided 13 years ago. SRGDRR is a purely volunteer-based rescue. Although they are based out of Bullard, Texas, they work with adopters, shelters, and owner surrenders nationwide. Every single member of this rescue is spending their own money, time, and energy to help the Great Dane breed and grow the rescue. In 2023, SRGDRR took in 569 Great Danes and Great Dane mixes. They adopted 493 dogs and performed 332 spays and neuters. On top of their adoptions, they totaled over 145,000 transport miles getting adoptable dogs to safe locations. It’s not hard to see why SRGDRR has become the country’s biggest Great Dane in such a short amount of time.
Their mission statement:
“Our goal is to work with animal shelters, humane societies, and other rescues to protect Great Danes and other giant breeds by locating forever homes. Additionally, we want to educate people about the need for sterilization of all pets, proper health care, nutritional requirements, and the process of spaying/neutering of a pet. We ask that you help us achieve our goal by sharing our rescue with your family and friends. The more awareness that we are able to create, the better the Great Dane breed, and all breeds, will be in the long run. No matter how small your contribution is, it makes a difference, regardless of the cause.
Save Rocky the Great Dane Rescue and Rehab is funded by donations, adoption donations, and fundraisers. Donations through us are tax-deductible. All of the funds we raise go directly to our rescue fund. If you’re looking to help us make a difference, donate a small or large amount of funds, items from our wishlist, or your time through volunteering. Thank you for your time and interest.”
Their meticulous adoption and foster approval process should not be overlooked. Not only are they invested in saving Great Danes in bad situations, but they make sure any dog walking through their doors is going to the best possible situation. Again, all expenses are funded by public donations and volunteers. While it’s a heavy lift, they have a passion for what they do and continue to grow at a substantial rate. To learn more about Save Rocky, please visit their website. Find out how you can make a difference today.
Why Aaron Chose SRGDRR: “There might be some bias in this choice but this has been far and away the best rescue that I’ve had the pleasure of working with. They care about the Great Dane breed and they care about each dog that comes through the doors. Despite being the largest Great Dane rescue in the country, they’ve never taken it for granted and are always striving to save more. Like many rescues, funding and a finite amount of fosters are big keys to their success. Please consider supporting SRGDRR in the future.”