TAMPA — It all began with a fidget spinner.
And when the fidget stopped spinning, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter, who is on record as saying he wants a "bad (naughty word)" football team, was apologizing to his former team, the defending NFC champion Falcons.
What a killjoy. An apology? What fun is that?
What is this, a NATO summit?
And didn't the Falcons troll first?
Ah, the famous Falcons fidget-spinner flap.
Say that five times fast.
May the story long be told, again and again.
Hey, it beats charting Roberto Aguayo's hits and misses.
It began Monday, when the Bucs sent out a tweet on the team account advertising Bucs-themed "fidget spinners," the popular stress-relieving children's toy.
The Falcons came back a few hours later on their team account and playfully asked, "Are you nervous about something?"
The Bucs account then playfully broke out the chain saw.
The tweet — "We ain't worried 'bout nothing!" — included a photo of Vernon Hargreaves, No. 28, and Jameis Winston, No. 3.
The lead the Falcons blew in their epic Super Bowl collapse against the Patriots.
Greatest … tweet … ever.
Wonder how long it took someone inside the Bucs, probably a now former someone, to find that photograph of 28 and 3 .
If I were Koetter, I would've given the 28-3 tweeter a high-fiver on my way out to … The Apology.
"I want to make sure, on behalf of the Bucs organization, that I apologize to the Falcons," Koetter said after Thursday's workouts. "That's not what our organization is all about. That was totally unprofessional and not smart on our part, whoever was responsible for that."
Koetter added, "Heck, we want to be playing in the Super Bowl, and we were home sitting on our butt while they were playing. We have no room to be making fun of anybody that was in the Super Bowl, whether they won or not."
Last season, after a win in San Diego, Koetter told his team to "speak soft" but carry a big (naughty word) stick.
This is the speak-soft part.
I get where Koetter is coming from. He was displaying class. Also, franchises that haven't been to the postseason since 2007 and haven't won a playoff game since Super Bowl night in 2003 have no right to be saying anything. Like, make the playoffs first. Shut up. Never tease.
Really, this 28-3 tweet could truly inflame tensions between the Bucs and Falcons.
To which I say: Good. Tension away. There's not enough fun like this is football. Stir that pot.
Atlanta might actually try to beat the Bucs exactly 28-3 next season.
The real problem is the Bucs and Falcons don't meet for the first time until Nov. 26 in Atlanta.
Yeah, that 28-3 tweet was wrong — and wonderful.
Then Uncle Dirk had to go and apologize.
I guess that ends it.
Is that any way to keep this fidget spinning?
Contact Martin Fennelly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 813-731-8029. Follow @mjfennelly.