WASHINGTON (AP) -- The NFL is still trying to maintain its TV blackout of home games that don't sell out.
Forty years ago, it missed an opportunity to preserve an even more restrictive policy when it rebuffed an effort by President Richard Nixon to lift the hometown blackout just for playoff games.
On a previously unreported 1972 tape recording reviewed by The Associated Press, Nixon told his attorney general to offer the league a deal: Allow playoff games to be televised in the hometown city, and the president would block any legislation requiring teams to televise regular-season home games. At the time, the NFL blacked out all home games, sold out or not.
The NFL declined the offer. A year later, Nixon signed legislation banning blackouts of home games sold out 72 hours beforehand.
Audio of President Nixon and his attorney general discussing a deal to end NFL blackouts during playoffs: http://bit.ly/y6uMgQ