According to USA Today, a recent Supreme Court ruling has denied the National Football League antitrust law protections, stating that its 32 constituent teams must be considered separate entities. The court reversed the dismissal of a suit filed against the league by American Needle, Inc., a company which was locked out of the football-themed hatmaking business after the NFL penned a 10-year exclusivity agreement with Reebok. Gee, that sounds awfully familiar.

The case of American Needle v. NFL has returned to the lower courts, where a decision in favor of the former could drastically change the face of the NFL's licensing business. In short, if the district courts find the league in violation of antitrust laws, it could repeal exclusivity agreements like the one with Reebok -- or, likely more pertinent to your interests, the one with EA Sports, which brought a hasty end to the NFL2K series. We'll keep an eye out for further developments in this lawsuit.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.