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NFL player safety preached in 'Championship Football'

It isn't easy for Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh to revisit last season's AFC Championship Game, but he toughed it out in the name of player safety.

Harbaugh joined a handful of players and coaches who took part in "Championship Football," a video produced by the NFL Player Safety Advisory Panel that urges the league's athletes to stay within the rules -- especially when it comes to helmet-to-helmet contact. The video has been shown to all 32 teams around the NFL.

In the documentary, Harbaugh names one positive for Baltimore in that heartbreaking title-game loss to the New England Patriots: It was a hard-hitting affair unsoiled by illegal hits. That was also the case with the NFC championship and Super Bowl XLVI. No helmet-to-helmet hits, no hits on defenseless receivers and no player fines in the final three games of the season.

"A lot of times out there as a defensive back or a linebacker, you know if a guy can really get to a football or catch a football, so you have an opportunity to stop," said San Francisco 49ers safety Donte Whitner. "You can go out there, make hard tackles, lead with your shoulders, keep a good base and bring force without leading with your helmet or doing dirty things on the football field."

"Championship Football" does more than harp on defenders. We enjoyed watching New York Giants coach Tim Coughlin break down a Brandon Jacobs chip block on Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich in February's Super Bowl. It looks like it hurt (a lot), but it was legal. And that's the point.

"Injuries happen, you do lose players, but there's no sense in losing players unnecessarily," Coughlin said. "so we're trying to be smart about that."

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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