In 2006, Plemons joined the ensemble cast of NBC's television series Friday Night Lights, detailing the fictional events surrounding a high school football team in Dillon, Texas. In the show's first season, his character Landry Clarke provided comic relief as the best friend of football quarterback Matt Saracen, though Landry himself was not on the team. Among the cast and crew, it was a joke that Plemons played football better than most of the other actors, even though his character was one of the few who did not play. Landry joined the football team in the second season, and Plemons, having played high school football, told director Jeffrey Reiner that he would do his own stunts. In his first football scene, Landry had to "get the crap beat out of [him] over and over and over again". When hit by co-star Taylor Kitsch, Plemons' chin split open, requiring eleven stitches.
Plemons reunited with Kitsch and Friday Night Lights creator Peter Berg in the film Battleship (2012). Berg, who directed the film, explained that he knew how comfortable Kitsch was with Plemons: "I know that he's really good for Taylor and he makes Taylor better. So, I wrote that whole part for Jesse. I never thought of it as a Friday Night Lights reunion. I thought of it as protection, bringing a trusted family member in."