The term is also used to denote a specific plan of action, or its execution, under a particular set of circumstances faced by either team. For instance, the offensive team may be faced with one or two left in a possession and still ten or more yards to go to earn a new set of downs. In this instance, they may decide to employ a forward pass. Well in advance of the particular game, a number of different kinds of forward pass plays will have been planned out and practiced by the team. They will be designated by obscure words, letters and/or numbers so that the name of a play does not reveal its exact execution to outsiders. The team's coach, or perhaps the quarterback, will choose one of the planned forward passing strategies, and tell the team, during the huddle which one has been chosen. Because of planning and practice, each player is expected to know what his role in the play is to be, and how to execute it. This will be the offensive play.
Conversely, the defensive team will know that the offense has to cover a good deal of ground in a single play, will expect a forward pass, and will know from earlier study something of the propensities of the offense they face. The defensive captain is likely to call out a specific or defensive play, to anticipate and counteract the expected action by the offense.