I had more or less blotted Stephen Schneider's Science as a Contact Sport out of my consciousness until this morning. Back in the eighties, it must have been, a manager who I had to at least pretend to listen to loved to talk about "science as a physical contact sport." He always emphasized that word, physical, with a lascivious edge.
The metaphor, of course, bristles with manliness even without that word added and emphasized. Every meeting in which he participated felt like an assault.
So it's a stupid metaphor to spread all over the cover of your book if you don't want to turn off half the population. And it's dumb to use any metaphor that is so outdated and quickly lost its freshness the first time around.