And only about a month and a half later than they were originally going to issue their ruling, too. The wheels of justice, they turn slowly.
It was speculated that the Eighth Circuit Court was holding off their ruling as long as negotiations were continuing between the NFL and the players, going so far as to say that if the court made a ruling that neither side would like the results very much. However, the court ultimately decided that they would overturn the ruling made by Judge Susan Richard Nelson back in April that lifted the lockout for a day or so before the NFL appealed.
One of the more interesting parts of the ruling, according to Fooch from our good friends over at Niners Nation. . .and he's totally a lawyer and stuff, so we should listen to him. . .is that the court ruling can be interpreted to read that the lockout could be legal concerning players currently under contract, but it might not apply to veteran free agents, rookies, and undrafted free agents. As they aren't under contract to a particular team, the court views them as "non-employees." This means that the NFL could, in theory, be forced to negotiate and conduct business with free agents, and could have the ability to sign undrafted rookies.
Of course, after those players signed with a team, they'd immediately be locked back out again, but hey. . .that's how it goes.
The bottom line remains that it remains in the best interest of both sides to get a deal done. If regular season games are missed, the owners could be subject to a lawsuit that would bring the players triple damages as a result, meaning the owners would be out around $12 billion.
Football is a lot more fun on the field than it is in the courtroom, isn't it?