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Monday, July 26, 2010
OTL: Safer to digest in NFC West

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Fans sick of watching NFC West teams lose to non-division opponents might be less apt to feel queasy at their favorite teams' concession stands.

Score it as a small victory for the division that claimed the fewest victories against outside competition last season.

The chart, based on information from an "Outside The Lines" investigation, ranks NFL stadiums by percentage of stadium food vendors suffering "critical violations" in recent inspections.

The number of vendors per stadium probably varies and those totals were not revealed, making it impossible to identify exact percentages for each division. I settled for averaging the percentages and the NFC West came out best in the league: NFC West 23.8 percent critical violations, AFC North 26.3, NFC North 27.0, AFC East 31.3, NFC East 40.3, AFC West 42.0, AFC South 43.0, NFC South 45.8.

Candlestick Park, the oldest stadium in the NFC West, had the best percentage (13) in the division. I'll break down findings for each NFC West stadium (note that some "critical violations" seem relatively minor).

San Francisco 49ers

Stadium: Candlestick Park

Critical violations rate: 13 percent

Inspection report excerpt, via OTL: "Inspectors found one location with no hot water, posing a sanitary threat."

St. Louis Rams

Stadium: Edward Jones Dome

Critical violations rate: 21 percent

Inspection report excerpt, via OTL: "One location got a critical violation for not having hand towels at a sink."

Arizona Cardinals

Stadium: University of Phoenix Stadium

Critical violations rate: 28 percent

Inspection report excerpt, via OTL: "Inspectors asked a vendor to toss seven hamburgers being held below the required 130-degree temperature for hot, ready-to-serve food."

Seattle Seahawks

Stadium: Qwest Field

Critical violations rate: 33 percent

Inspection report excerpt, via OTL: "About 15 locations were cited for not having adequate hand-washing facilities."