“Peachtree Bart” was the Atlanta Falcons answer to Broadway Joe and he was just what the struggling team needed.
Steve Bartkowski was born in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1952 and was a two-sport star at the University of California. The Atlanta Falcons made the All-American the first pick in the 1975 draft—ahead of Walter Payton—and the 6-foot-4-inch quarterback didn’t take long to make an impact. “Bart” became a fan favorite and was the NFL Rookie of the Year in 1975. He led the Falcons to the playoffs for the first time in franchise history in 1978. Two years later he threw an NFL-best 31 touchdown passes while leading the Falcons to their first division title. Bart led the Falcons for 11 seasons before multiple knee injuries ended his career.
Steve Bartkowski still holds nearly every Falcons passing record and was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame on May 19, 2007, Today in Georgia History.