Federal Judge Susan Richard Nelson has issued a ruling in favor of the players lifting the lockout.
Nelson stated in her ruling that the plantiffs (the players) "have made a strong showing that allowing the League to continue their 'lockout' is presently inflicting, and will continue to inflict, irreparable harm upon them, particularly when weighed against the lack of any real injury that would be imposed on the NFL by issuing the preliminary injunction."
Before you go dancing naked through the streets realize that this isn't over and that the legal jargon is far from over. The NFL is now seeking a stay with an immediate appeal to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. If the NFL loses their appeal, the league would be forced to put rules in place allowing the doors to open for players and scheduling the beginning of free agency. If the NFL wins, the lockout will continue and the players will be put in a bad position with very little remaining legal leverage.
The league is very confident in their case saying, "We believe that federal law bars injunctions in labor disputes. We are confident that the Eighth Circuit will agree." ESPN's legal expert Roger Cossack doesn't believe the NFL should be so confident saying that in most cases appeal courts rule in favor of the judges.
For the fan that's looking for football in the fall, this is all good news, but not the end of the road. It's a step in the right direction, though.