Sen. Arlen Specter, who for a few more weeks is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, says the time has come for Congress to blitz the National Football League’s exemption from antitrust laws. Side effects of such a move could affect mergers in the cable and satellite television business.

In a hearing Dec. 7, Specter said he plans to introduce legislation next year that would eliminate the NFL’s ability to negotiate television contracts on behalf of the entire league. Without the exemption, each team would have to negotiate its own TV contract to avoid violating antitrust prohibitions on collusion among competitors in a business.