The end of an era: The Cult of Colt was closed last night.

The Cult of Colt was a message board thread dedicated to Colt Brennan, the way the Manson Family was a few folks who enjoyed each other’s company.

True, it really was a thread on the Dan Snyder-owned fan forum, Extremeskins, but it was so much more. It was a microcosm of Redskins fanaticism, a place where burgundy and gold obsessives blind to their obsessions would flock to post stuff that the unconverted would rate as senseless crap.

Irony and shame rarely made an appearance in the Cult of Colt. Their places were filled by crazy hope, for the home team and a 27-year-old backbencher who never has and likely never will play a real down in an NFL game. Comments, and at last count there were 1,128 pages of ’em, almost never rose above the level of  “Who Would You Take: Unitas or Colt?”

When the Cult of Colt was highlighted in Washington City Paper’s most recent Best Of issue (named “Best Place to Observe Redskins Mania”) last spring, the thread had logged half a million hits. That’s an astounding number of hits for a hyper-provincial spot such as Extremeskins.

Last week, the million man mark in total hits was passed at the Cult of Colt.

Again, all this for a player who logged no more minutes on the field than any of the posters.

It was awesome while it lasted.

But yesterday afternoon, everything came crashing down on the player and his Cultists, when tweets abounded that Colt Brennan, the human being, was telling fans as he walked off the field after Redskins practice that he’d been cut.

Hours later, at 8:02 P.M. EST to be specific, moderators at Snyder’s site put a stake through the Cult’s heart and closed the thread forever with a simple message: “Time to move forward…”

Easier said than done. The thread, I miss already. The player? Nah.