The former chairman of the National Labor Relations Board said NFL owners couldn't ask for a better court to hear its appeal.
"The U.S. Court of Appeals [for The Eighth Circuit] in St. Louis is probably the most conservative court in the country," said William Gould, currently a professor at Stanford University. "When I was chairman of the NLRB [from 1994 to 1998], a number of our orders against employers were reversed there.
"This is the best court for the owners to be in."
Asked why, Gould said, "Philosophically, they're hostile to the rights of unions and workers to engage in union activity, and, in this case, not to engage in union activity."
The NFL is trying to regroup, after Federal Judge Susan Nelson lifted the league's lockout in a decidedly pro-players, ruling Monday.
"The irreparable harm to the players outweighs any harm an injunction would cause the NFL," she wrote.
The league didn't find much to be satisfied with in her 89-page ruling.
"She exhibited considerable skepticism of the owners' arguments, so she accepted virtually every argument that the players made," Gould said. "It's obviously a sweeping victory, at this stage, for the players, and gives them enormous leverage if the order is affirmed."
But that's the key question: while the lockout is technically lifted will it become officially lifted after the court of appeals has its say?
Gould said the owners will argue that lifting the lockout then resuming it will create chaos.
If the owners lose before the appeals court, the players will have significant leverage moving forward. But if they win, the NFL's lockout could threaten regular season games.
"If the owners are successful, I would think this is going to go on for a considerable period of time [in courts], and games could be cancelled," Gould said. "But if the players are successful, well, then they'll we'll have football."