More than a dozen senators called on the National Football League (NFL) to make its exclusive coverage of certain games on the NFL Network publicly available to fans.

"We write today because we are disappointed that, rather than building on this success, the NFL will return to restricting games to the NFL Network," 13 senators wrote to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "That the NFL would choose to have fewer viewers for select games again this year is an indication of its interest in moving toward a pay television model."

Noting that the Congress has granted antitrust exemptions to the NFL to guarantee free broadcasts of games on network television, the senators criticized the NFL for narrowly interpreting the exemption, and suggested that a lawsuit to resolve their concerns may be possible.

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"Ultimately, it may be for the courts to determine whether the NFL member teams are using the NFL Network to restrict the output of game programming in a manner that violates the antitrust laws," they wrote.

About half of the senators who wrote represent states who fall under at least one NFL team's footprint. Sens. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyVermont Lt. Gov. launches bid for US House Lawmakers remember Bob Dole: 'Bona fide American hero' Biden signs four bills aimed at helping veterans MORE (D-Vt.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDemocrats see Christmas goal slipping away What's that you smell in the Supreme Court? The Hill's Morning Report - Ins and outs: Powell renominated at Fed, Parnell drops Senate bid MORE (D-R.I.), Jack ReedJack ReedDemocrats seek to avoid internal disputes over Russia and China Overnight Defense & National Security — Quick vote on defense bill blocked again Rubio blocks quick votes on stalemated defense bill MORE (D-R.I.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersSenate rejects attempt to block Biden's Saudi arms sale Overnight Defense & National Security — Lawmakers clinch deal on defense bill White House 'strongly opposes' Senate resolution to stop Saudi arms sale MORE (I-Vt.), and Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) fall under the umbrella of the New England Patriots. Sen. Arlen Specter's (R-Pa.) state contains the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles franchises, while Sens. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.) and Wayne Allard (R-Colo.) fall under the Denver Broncos. Signatory Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinDemocrats seek to avoid internal disputes over Russia and China Schumer steps on the gas to move Biden agenda Demand Justice launches ad campaign backing Biden nominee who drew GOP pushback MORE (D-Ill.), meanwhile, represents the Chicago Bears' hometown.

-Michael O'Brien