Elway, the NFL's second all-time leading passer, and Sanders, the third all-time leading rusher, are in their first year of eligibility for the Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame's board of selectors will select from a list of 15 finalists.
The other finalists are Bob Brown, Richard Dent, Carl Eller, Cliff Harris, Bob Hayes, Lester Hayes, Bob Kuechenberg, Jim Marshall, Art Monk, Rayfield Wright, Gary Zimmerman, Harry Carson and George Young.
Elway is synonymous with the Denver Broncos, having played 16 years with the franchise and passing for 51,475 yards and 300 touchdowns.
Sanders appeared to be on his way to becoming the NFL's all-time leading rusher, recording 15,269 yards and 99 touchdowns in 10 years with the Detroit Lions. But he retired after the 1998 season.
Newt Gingrich fires back at Mandela backlash
Wisconsin business offering 'therapeutic cuddling' forced to close