Steve Bartkowski was a consensus All-American his senior season at the University of California, Berkeley in 1974, when he led the nation in passing. Bartkowski was chosen with the first overall pick in the 1975 NFL Draft, ahead of Walter Payton, by the Atlanta Falcons. Bartkowksi was the NFL Rookie of the Year in 1975. He was the first client of sports agent Leigh Steinberg.
Bartkowski was selected to the Pro Bowl after both the 1980 and 1981 seasons and was selected 2nd Team All-NFC following the 1980 campaign. Bartkowski led the NFL in passing in 1983 with a passer rating of 97.6. He mainly played for the Falcons in his 11-year span in the league, playing only a single year for the Rams in 1986.
In 1993, Bartkowski was inducted into the National Polish American Sports Hall of Fame, the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 2007, and in 2012, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Him and his family live in the greater Atlanta area. Bartkowski has served as the Atlanta Falcons Board of Directors, and has been a part of DPR Construction for many years now.