JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jacksonville’s effort to get an NFL team heated up with the addition of two key players: Wayne Weaver and Delores Barr Weaver.
The couple were brought in by Wayne's brother, Ron Weaver, who was part of the group called Touchdown Jacksonville that led the charge to bring an NFL team to the city.
Longtime Channel 4 anchor Tom Wills recalls meeting with Ron Weaver at a function at Amelia Island and saying that he didn't think Jacksonville would be awarded a team over Charlotte or St. Louis.
IMAGES: How Jacksonville got the Jaguars
“He said, 'Tom, my brother always gets what he wants,'” Wills said.
Wayne Weaver initially agreed to partner with his brother to help bring the team to town, but it soon became clear he would be more than a backer.
The group needed a frontman.
“The league had told us, 'You’ve got your ducks in a row, but we’re not dealing with a committee. You’ve got to have one guy,'” News4Jax Sports Director Sam Kouvaris said. “And there wasn’t one guy among the people of Touchdown Jacksonville who wanted to or had the wherewithal to step up and be that guy until Ronnie Weaver stepped up and convinced Wayne it was the right thing to do.”
The Weavers' team consisted of eight partners, including Jeb Bush, son of former President George H.W. Bush.
“We had a good partnership. We had people who knew Jacksonville,” Wayne Weaver said.
But in addition to having a team owner the league would accept, the city had to have a first-class or new stadium and had to pre-sell club seats to show that the community would support the team, former Florida Times-Union publisher Carl Cannon said.
“They attracted Wayne Weaver,” Cannon said. “They did not have, at that time, a first-class stadium, and that would be the big hang-up as we went on in the summer (of 1993).”
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