This term is used in football to describe the planned action each team takes on every down. Football is segmented into downs; for each down, the team must call a play. A play is a pre-defined action which includes the formation, movement of players, blocking assignments, passing or rushing routes, and any other details necessary to execute the play successfully. Teams typically have hundreds of plays that may be called on any given down. A play may be either offensive or defensive; both teams call one on each down. If the quarterback or defensive captain wants to change the play based on the other team's formation, it is referred to as an audible.
There are many different categories of plays, each dedicated to a specific situation on the field. For example, a team will have long and short plays, goal-line plays, kick-return plays, and others. The individual on a team who calls the plays is known as the "play-caller." This individual may be the head coach, one of the coordinators, or in some rare cases, the quarterback.