Happiness in the National Football League should be an offer of $400 million - to show all of its playoff games on closed-circuit television in theaters for five seasons.
But commissioner Pete Rozelle already is out front saying the offer will not even be brought up formally in the league meeting beginning today in New York.
The net result of the offer is that Congress has been stirred to cast a threatening view on any consideration of deserting free television for the fans.
And, despite the previous failures of rival leagues, promoters may be tempted by such figures to make another run at the NFL's dominance.
Rozelle says of the $400 million offer by Bill Sargent of Los Angeles, "We're planning to continue our past patterns of telecasting. Starting next month we will begin negotiating with the three commercial television networks for all of our regular season and all of our postseason games, including the Super Bowls.
"One of our representatives in Washington (attorney Thomas C. Williams has told congressional leaders interested in television that we are not interested in the offer from Sargent. It will not even be brought up formally at our meetings."
The offer will be reviewed by the NFL's television committee, comprising owner Art Modell of Cleveland, who used to package daytime television programs; owner Gene Klein of San Diego, who used to be in the entertainment business in Los Angeles; NFL broadcast coordinator Bob Cochran, and Rozelle, who sharply escalated the revenue from television when he took office in 1960.
Cochran said Sargent and his attorney visited the NFL's New York City office first with an offer of nearly $300 million and was asked to put a bid in writing. Sargent returned with a typewritten offer of $400 million to carry eight playoff games and the Super Bowl each season for five years.
Chchran said Sargent has been involved in independent film production and calls his television set-up "Special Events Entertainment."
Sargent proposed engagin 500 theaters with two million seats to be priced at $100 each.
Cochran recalled receiving "seven or eight" offers in the last 10 years to put games on pay television.
He cited the history of NFL games not drawing in experiences with theater television.
Under the contracts with the three commercial networks that ends next season, the NFL receives an aggregate of about $57 million a year for all regular season and postseason games.