It's been awfully hot around here lately. That's made it difficult for everyone to cool down.

The Michael Vick debate turned heated the moment news broke that the former Falcon would begin nesting with the Eagles. Some fans, the mad and hyperbolic ones, have bellowed that the organization pushed them past the point of return.

Like a gang of Howard Beales trying to recreate that famous scene from Network, they're throwing open their windows and screaming, "We're mad as hell, and we're not going to take it anymore." On the radio, I heard people promise to return their tickets, and I received e-mails from fans who swore they won't watch the games on TV.

Maybe you know people who've made those vows. Maybe you've taken the pledge yourself.

I'm not buying it. You're bluffing, and you're bad at it.

I don't doubt you feel angry and betrayed and ashamed. And I don't blame you, either. What Vick did was horrifying and inexcusable. There are those who don't believe he deserves a second chance because they find his crime too heinous. And there are those who are OK with the idea of his playing again - just as long as Vick doesn't play for the Eagles.

All of that makes sense. You aren't comfortable rooting for Vick. That's totally understandable. But there's a big difference between not wanting any part of Vick and not wanting any part of the Eagles.

Let's be honest: Eagles fans are passionate and excitable. There's always something that angries up the blood. I'm not trying to trivialize the reaction to the Vick signing. Of all the flash points that have made people swear off the Eagles in the past, what Vick did was by far the most barbarous and wicked. But this isn't the first time people have renounced their allegiance to the Eagles, and it certainly won't be the last.

In the early '90s, I remember how furious all of my friends and I were when Reggie White led a mass exodus of players. We blamed "that guy in France," as Buddy Ryan used to call Norman Braman, for failing to pay them the going rate, and we took an oath not to watch the Birds until the Eagles were freed from his frugal grip.

In the late '90s, we made a similar pact after the Eagles drafted some good-for-nothing quarterback from Syracuse instead of Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams. The new coach was quite obviously a buffoon, and until they replaced him or found a decent running back, we were calling it quits.

Everyone lashed out again when T.O. scuttled the post-Super Bowl season, and they flipped once more when everyone's favorite Eagle, Brian Dawkins, became a Bronco. I was driving home shortly after the Dawkins news was confirmed when I turned on the radio and heard my pal, Fearce. He called one of the stations to inform everyone he was officially done with the Birds.

All of that was nonsense, of course. Fearce and the rest of us talk a good game, but we never follow through on any of our threats. Sports, and especially the Eagles, are sustenance in Philly. No matter how much the players, coaches and owners infuriate us, we'd sooner give up our daily ration of food and water (and beer) than stop following our teams.

Besides, what exactly would you do on Sundays if you weren't watching the Eagles? If you think you're going to pull a Frank the Tank and hit Home Depot and Bed Bath & Beyond, forget about it. I have married friends who do that stuff. That's no kind of life.

"You have to understand, at this particular point, it's still fresh in their minds, and people are upset," Donovan McNabb said about the fans who claim they've reached their breaking point. "With everything that's happened, things will change. The only thing we can do right now is focus in on football. You can't change some people's opinions. You can't change the way they may think. But you can go out and do your job. We hope that everyone will be out at the stadium and cheering just like they had been before - tailgating and getting ready for the game. It's going to be an exciting year. We hope everyone will be there."

But you're still finished with the Eagles, right? You're sticking to your decision?

OK. Let's see if you're really serious. Send your single-game and season tickets to your Page 2 pals here at the Inquirer: 400 N. Broad St., Philadelphia 19130. We'll donate them to charity or, if you want the seats to remain empty in a powerful symbolic gesture, we'll be happy to burn them on your behalf. We'll even publish the names of the brave souls in this very space.

Oh, and if you're one of the people who said you won't watch the games on TV, feel free to ship your HD flat screen my way. I could use one in my bedroom.