Dallas Cowboys

Romo’s cousin is the man behind fantasy football convention

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The 20th floor apartment at the Skyhouse Dallas is filled with player contracts, flyers, sponsor giveaways.

There is no room to walk, let alone sleep.

But at this point, sleep is overrated for Andy Alberth, who came to Dallas four years ago as the driver and babysitter for his famous cousin, Tony Romo, and is finally overseeing his pride and joy, the National Fantasy Football Convention.

Romo, the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback, has been the name and face of the convention during failed efforts the past two years, which resulted in clashes with the NFL.

But this has always been Alberth’s idea and baby.

And with Romo away at the American Century Celebrity Golf Tournament at Lake Tahoe this weekend, it’s Alberth who gets to officially introduce the NFFC to the world Saturday and Sunday at Fair Park.

“It feels somewhat surreal,” Alberth said. “The process has been frustrating with the interference from the NFL, I’m not going to lie. But you put your heart and soul in this. You have some 60- to 90-hour work weeks. You are wanting this to happen. It hasn’t kicked in that it’s finally happening.”

Romo could make an appearance before the weekend is up, depending on his play in the golf tournament, where he is one of the favorites.

“Andy has done a great job,” Romo said. “He’s put a lot of time and effort into this. He’s excited about this weekend. A ton of players. It’s going to be a great event and a lot of fans coming up.”

The event is finally happening because Alberth, who spent six years playing poker in Las Vegas before coming to Dallas, went from Romo’s driver to master networker to sports entrepreneur.

Alberth has more phone numbers of Cowboys players than Romo. Those connections have morphed into more than 280 contacts, including players, actors, agents and media members he has called on to make the convention a reality.

More than 20 Cowboys are among the 50 current and former football players scheduled to attend, including Ezekiel Elliott, Jason Witten, Taco Charlton, DeMarcus Lawrence, David Johnson, Johnny Manziel, Terrell, Owens, Michael Vick, Darren Woodson, Drew Pearson and Charles Haley.

ESPN’s senior fantasy football analyst Matthew Berry is the signature host.

Alberth sees the convention as an opportunity for fans to interact with players. The event will include fantasy football classes, games, signings and parties. He hopes to get 100 players involved next year and 150 after that.

“This is has been my baby,” Alberth said. “It’s three years in the making. It’s exciting to see that fans are going to be able come and do this. It’s amazing the support we have had for three years from sponsors, players and fans. The have sent tons of messages telling us not to give on this. Now it’s here.”

Clarence Hill: 817-390-7760, @clarencehilljr

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