Bartkowski was a consensus All-American his senior season in 1974 at the University of California, Berkeley when he led the nation in passing. In 1972, Bartkowski threw for 944 yards with four touchdowns and 13 interceptions. In 1973, he threw for 910 yards with four touchdowns and seven interceptions while continuing to split time with QB Vince Ferragamo as he did in the previous season. In 1974 Bartkowski threw for 2,580 yards,12 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. He completed 182 passes out of 325 attempts. In addition to playing college football, Bartkowski was also an All-American baseball player at first base for the Bears.
Bartkowski is one of ten quarterbacks in NFL history who have achieved consecutive 30-touchdown passing seasons (1980 and 1981) at least one time in their career. 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. Bartkowski set the record for consecutive games with at least three touchdown passes at home with five which he established over the 1980 and 1981 seasons. The record was held until the 2004 season when it was surpassed by Peyton Manning.
Bartkowski still holds almost every Falcons passing record. However, on December 30, 2013 Matt Ryan surpassed Bartkowski's all-time passing yards record. He was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame on May 19, 2007.