The NFL lockout is over! Hooray, football in 2011.

…Wait. Not so fast. I’ll admit when I first saw the “Breaking News” scroll on ESPN this afternoon I had no idea who Judge Susan Richard Nelson was or what her ruling meant for the state of the NFL lockout. After a bit of research, here’s what I’ve got.

Essentially, this federal judge in Minnesota ordered the league to end the lockout. Her ruling appears to be a significant win for the players, although NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the owners have appealed it.

So what does that mean? The owners asked for a “stay of execution” which basically keeps the lockout in effect until the owners finalize their appeal to Nelson’s decision. The “stay of execution” does have to be approved, but in most situations it usually is granted.

We may have collectively jumped to gun on calling the lockout over, as Nelson’s decision appears to simply be a step in the direction of finalizing this battle. The owners likely think this thing is far from over, but players, such as Ravens wide receiver Derrick Mason, are hoping to be back at the office next week.

We’ll keep you posted and break down the legal jargon. Now back to baseball and hockey.