Meet the Metric – Money Throw

by Neil Dutton · Analytics & Advanced Metrics

It can difficult to quantify class. It can be an objective quality, after all. Often wiseheads will point at something they perceive to be good and remark that you just can’t coach that, without adequately explaining what “it” is. I’m not saying we have found the formula here at PlayerProfiler, but we have one weapon that can help. The Money Throw is the latest subject in our Meet the Metric series.


Our definition of what constitutes a Money Throw is as follows ;

“A completed pass requiring exceptional skill or athleticism as well as critical completions in clutch moments during the game.”

So what we are looking for is big-time pass completions. Outstanding feats of athleticism aiding the quarterback in getting the ball to his receiver. A pass completed in a “got to have it” situation in a game. They are called Money Throws because they pay off in a big way.



For the last 20 years, when considering the “money” performers at the quarterback position, the first name to mind has been Tom Brady. It should therefore surprise no one that Brady led all quarterbacks with 46 Money Throws in 2020. They accounted for 8-percent of his pass attempts for the season (610).

Brady completed almost three times as many Money Throws as he threw Interceptable Passes (19).

Tom Brady 2020 Passing Productivity Stats

Trailing Brady, with 39 Money Throws each, were Patrick Mahomes and Baker Mayfield. Mahomes had 15 (No. 28) Interceptable Passes, while Mayfield had only 10 (No. 25) Interceptable Passes. Josh Allen was next on the list with 36 Money Throws, but he was more volatile than the three players ahead of him. Allen threw 24 (No. 8) Interceptable Passes, while also engaging in 44 (No. 2) Danger Plays. But as we can see from these players, quarterbacks with the ability to deliver in clutch moments tend to be on successful teams. Two of the top four quarterbacks in Money Throws, namely Brady and Mahomes, made the Super Bowl. Mahomes and the Chiefs eliminated both Mayfield’s Browns and Allen’s Bills.

Nick Mullens 2020 Passing Productivity Stats

At the other end of the scale, having a quarterback who can’t deliver the money plays can seriously impact a team’s hopes of success in a given year. Of the 30 quarterbacks with at least 300 pass attempts, Nick Mullens of the 49ers had the lowest number of Money Throws. He managed just four (No. 40) from his 326 (No. 29) attempts (one-percent). Cam Newton of the Patriots didn’t really wow as a passer in 2020 either, with just eight (No. 35) Money Throws on 368 (No. 25) attempts (two-percent). Mullens threw 28 (No. 5) Interceptable Passes, with Newton tossing 20 (No. 17). Neither of their teams made it to the postseason.


Joe Burrow was the consensus No. 1 overall pick in 2020, while Justin Herbert was almost an afterthought when the Chargers landed him at No. 6. Yet after their first seasons, Herbert appears to be the one in possession of the money gene. Herbert ranked No. 6 with 31 Money Throws, five-percent of his 595 (No. 4) attempts.

Justin Herbert Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Burrow had just 11 (No. 26) Money Throws on 404 (No. 22) attempts, or three-percent. Tua Tagovailoa attempted 290 (No. 32) passes and mustered just 10 (No. 28) Money Throws. I’m not suggesting that the Bengals should be regretting their selection of Burrow. Nor should the Dolphins be banging their heads against the wall and cursing the name Tagovailoa. But the Chargers, by luck or design, landed a quarterback who was ready for Sunday action almost from the first snap he took in the NFL. It’s still early days, but he looks like being money well spent.

Until next time.