The AFA entered its second decade still trying to find its true identity. Some owners, such as Carl Boon of Chicago and Rollie Barrell of Detroit were firm believers in "first rate all the way" and that meant teams in big cities. But AFA President Jack Kristich, though friendly with both Boon and Barrell, felt that the league had grown out of the smaller, hard-working cities of the industrial midwest and was reluctant to leave those roots behind. The last of the original small-city clubs, Dayton, had dropped out of the league midway through the '29 season, but had been bought by Brooklyn-based financier Dudley Townsend, who moved them to his home borough and dubbed them the Brooklyn Kings. Rumor - never confirmed - indicated that Townsend's deep pockets had helped save Brooklyn Kings baseball owner and root beer magnate Daniel Prescott from financial disaster in the wake of the Stock Market crash and this had led to Townsend's moving his team to Brooklyn, copying the baseball team's nickname and getting a beneficial rent deal at Kings County Stadium. 

The Depression that had hit during the previous season was going to be felt around the AFA in 1930 and beyond, making the atmosphere that thus far had allowed cities like Dayton, Albany, Harrisburg, and Providence exist in a league with New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, and Detroit. The squeeze was coming - some felt it as early as '30, but for others, the day of reckoning was fast approaching. The 1930 season can be rightly considered to be the one where the changing of the guard truly began, a process that would be completed within three years.


The tenth season of the AFA began with its annual ritual of comings-and-goings amongst its membership. The overextended Chicago Zephyrs found they couldn't afford to go it alone and merged with the New York Stars, with the team keeping the Stars' name & location. This instantly made the New Yorkers the favorites to win the title - and convinced the owners of the New York Gothams to fold their team. The Baltimore Browns had also fallen on hard times and were short on cash so they made the... interesting... decision to leave Baltimore and move to Albany, NY, of all places. The AFA expanded back to 12 teams as the Buffalo Nickels returned and the Newark Knights, Harrisburg Generals and St. Paul Apostles joined in as well.

Meanwhile, Rollie Barrell's Detroit Maroons kept things on an even keel. Barrell knew the new "Stars" team would live up to its nickname, and indeed, New York was loaded on offense. But defensively, they were less talented. Barrell's team on the other hand, had one of the league's best defenses and an offense that was nearly as good as New York's. Barrell also felt the defending champion Wildcats would be a factor as he prepped his team for what he assumed would be a three-way fight for the crown. He was right, but not in the way he believed. He bolstered the Maroons by adding perhaps the best two-way lineman in the sport in former Gotham Gus Ziegler, the kind of move that didn't make headlines but made the team much better.