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Longtime Falcon Steve Bartkowski Gets His Due As A College Star

The Atlanta Falcons all-time leader in passing yardage and touchdowns has received yet another honor, this time for his excellence at the collegiate level.

His future was as bright as it could be. In his senior season at Cal-Berkley, Steve Bartkowski led the Bears to an impressive 7-3-1 record. He led the league in passing with 2580 yards through the air, completed 56 percent of his passes and had a favorable 12:7 TD-INT ratio. His four 300 yard passing games was a school record at the time.

And the awards would soon follow: Bartkowski would be named team MVP, first team All-Pac-10 and most notably a consensus first team All-American. Finally, he's being inducted into the college football Hall of Fame as well.

Moreover, it was this success as a senior that paved the way for Bartkowski to join the Falcons as the No. 1 overall pick in the 1975 draft. At the time, he was easily considered the best quarterback out of the west and one of the top college products available in that draft class.

Though his production as a Falcon would wax and wane, Bartkowski certainly had his moments. He would top 3500 yards passing in both the 1980 and 1981 seasons and make the Pro Bowl both years, guiding the Falcons to a 12-4 record and one of their best seasons every in '80.

And of course, this was an era in football when throwing for 3000 yards in just one season actually meant something. His two consecutive seasons of 30+ touchdowns has also grown more impressive time, with only eight other quarterbacks sharing the feat.

But mostly, it's just another accolade that Barkowski certainly deserves. Soon, he'll be joining the ranks of guys like Art Monk, Jonathan Ogden and Phillip Fulmer. And while I don't think he'll ever get a shot at the other Hall of Fame, it's still nice to reflect on what was an impressive Falcons career in an otherwise dark, dismal era.

For more on the Falcons, visit The Falcoholic; for everything Cal Bears, check out California Golden Blogs.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.