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Falcons Uniform History, #10: The Great Steve Bartkowski

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Before Matt Ryan and Michael Vick, the Falcons only had one quarterback who even sniffed greatness over an extended period of time. That man was Steve Bartkowski, the finest Falcon to wear #10.

Bart played for a full decade in Atlanta after being selected with the first overall pick in the 1975 NFL Draft, putting up 24,124 yards, 156 touchdowns and 144 interceptions over that span. Despite an intermittently competent offensive line in front of him, a regularly shaky defense and all the classic problems you expect for a Falcons quarterback to face, he was consistently a very good quarterback, a two-time Pro Bowler and a steady, talented presence at a position where the Falcons had been pathetic for years.

He also presided over one of the great Falcons teams, the 1980 first-time division-winning squad that took a great Cowboys team to the wire and lost a heartbreaking 30-27 game. Bartkowski threw for over 300 yards and two touchdowns in that one, including a beautiful 60 yard strike to Alfred Jenkins. There's no question Bart threw too many picks, but when you consider everything working against him, he probably never quite had the career he deserved.

Any way you slice it, he's one of the franchise's greats, and he's easily the best player to wear this number.