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Steelers want more than just a division championship

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Their wish may be for their first AFC North title since 2010 this holiday season but their goal goes well past December 25.

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

'Tis the season to want things.

The 2014 Pittsburgh Steelers sat, at one point, at 3-3. Then 7-5. The proverbial muscle turned into hustle, and the Steelers found themselves clinching a playoff berth, and notching their first double-digit win season since 2011.

Winners of three in a row, the Steelers will host the Bengals in Week 17 for the AFC North championship. Win, it's the division title, and all the cool accessories that go with it.

"We want this hat and T-shirt that says ‘AFC North Champions,’ " defensive end Cam Heyward told Post-Gazette reporter Ed Bouchette.

Not that it's all about swag. It's perhaps all a bit underwhelming for left guard Ramon Foster, who was a part of the Steelers' last division championship, as well as their last AFC championship.

"Once you're in the show, it's a free-for-all, and we're definitely a team that can compete with anyone in the AFC," Foster said. "We're planning on being in Arizona."

Not to cheer on the five Steelers' Pro Bowl selections, but for the Super Bowl.

There will be 12 teams established officially before kickoff of the Steelers' primetime game with the Bengals Sunday who have the same goal in mind. Wearing those division championship hats during a night of mild celebration would seem appropriate, if for no reason other than to let players like Heyward, who were not with this club in its recent slew of wins and titles. Foster sees a bigger picture, but focusing on playing at a championship level in a championship game right now seems appropriate.

The Steelers are in the playoffs, division championship or not. A loss puts them on the road to take on streaky passing Indianapolis - a team the Steelers mauled 51-34 earlier this season. A win gives them the No. 3 seed and the opportunity to stay at home after the celebration, gearing up to take on most likely either the San Diego Chargers or the Baltimore Ravens.

Goals in general are good, whether it's the immediate or the big picture. As long as the Steelers are aimed at collectively focusing on overall success, the rest will take care of itself.