This from Wetzel's argument stands out to me.
Berman also focused on how the NFL came up with the four-game standard, drilling Nash over and over about where this number came from, how much of it was about non-cooperation and how much for the footballs.
Some judges like to use oral arguments to obtain concessions that they can then use, because those are much harder to successfully appeal. One possible interpretation of this is that Berman feels he might have something to work with on the footballs, but that reversing the NFL for a non-cooperation punishment is more difficult. Pushing the NFL to say "one for non-cooperation, three for footballs" would have given him something to work with either in an opinion or in settlement talks. The NFL didn't make that rookie mistake. But that doesn't mean they didn't goof. Hard to say until seeing a transcript.
But basically, it kind of goes like this. Having this exactly situation in oral argument is not uncommon for an appellate lawyer. You're defending what happened in the lower court (analogous here) and the judge asks questions that sound as though he's skeptical of one basis for what the lower court did, but maybe not the other. He tries a divide and conquer argument -- maybe to get you to make a concession that makes it easier for him to parse out the two and say that one was error. This is a difficult spot -- it forces you to decide whether to try to save the entire judgment below or risk sacrificing half of it.
Bring it back to the position Nash was in, he needs to decide whether to try to save half or to go for the whole enchilada, knowing that if you guess wrong, you'll get hoisted on your own petard. (Ok, that's enough metaphors.) Clearly his marching orders are to save the whole thing. So, you can't give an answer like, "two for cooperation and two for footballs," because then you've essentially given the judge a roadmap for reversing at least two games. In this case, if you want to go for the whole enchilada, there is a subtle way you have to argue it. Here, what Nash would want to do is argue that 4 games would have been appropriate for either violation. "Commissioner had authority, and would have been well within his discretion to give four games alone for non-cooperation or for the footballs, or in fact even more for either." Now, that answer may cause more difficult questioning, but at least you've avoided a concession that can be used against you. If the judge ain't buying it, he ain't buying it, but at least you haven't made it easier on him to write an appeal-proof decision. The wrong choice would be to argue that it's a combination. That is, you don't want to say something that the judge can say amounts to you saying, "you can't separate them, and it was 4 games for the totality." If that's what you say, it makes it easy on the judge -- he can say, "well, I would have affirmed on lack of cooperation, but the NFL acknowledged at oral argument that the total punishment was based on both, and since they refuse to separate them, the error infects the entire decision, and it must be reversed in total."
It's not clear whether Nash went with the either approach or the combination approach -- from some other tweets or reports on the argument it sounds like he did at least try to take the better path. There was a report that he suggested at one point that some in the league thought it should be 8 games, which would support the "discretion to give 4 games on either" answer. But without seeing the transcript it's hard to say.
Anyway, Berman could just be playing with the NFL. It all could mean nothing. But reading this line of questioning as trying to draw out a concession that's at least partially favorable to Brady/NFLPA sure doesn't seem a stretch to me. And that's ultimately good news, because judges only try to draw concessions from the side they want to make lose.
Other than that bit of tea leaf reading, the only other thing that I'd add about today's proceedings as reported so far is that every second of the two hours not talking about Brady's phone are good seconds, and it sounds like there wasn't a lot of that.